Mary Tutwiler

Hummingbirds and butterfly plants

by Mary Tutwiler

Saturday, here in Lafayette, is a day to get down with nature. Get started early, in the backyard of Rose and Jack Must, owners of Wild Birds Unlimited, for a morning of hummingbird banding and socializing. (I’m assuming that involves coffee.) Right now is the peak of hummingbird migration, as legions of tiny hovering hummers get ready to make the long flight across the Gulf of Mexico to their winter homes in central and south America. They’re fattening up on nectar from backyard feeders and the brilliant red flowers they are attracted to like turk’s cap and fire spike. Banding the birds involves trapping them, then clamping a small metal cuff to one leg, a way U.S. Fish and Wildlife can track the movement and populations of hummers like ruby throats and violet crowned. Later in the day, hummingbird experts will be Wild Birds Unlimited to answer questions and sign books. Banding is from 7-9 a.m. at 105 Hal Drive. Hummingbird Day continues until 3 p.m. at the shop on Arnould Boulevard. For directions and more info, check out the Web site or call 993-2473.

Saturday also offers plant lovers two opportunities to explore the world of local flora. Gardeners extraordinaire Sarah and Catherine Schoeffler will lead a garden chat and offer home grown plants for sale. (Coffee, again) Sarah’s garden has been open for tours for several years, wowing visitors who delight in her old roses and trumpeting amaryllis. Saturday, take the offer to wander through the lush beds and buy a little bit of heaven to take home to your own secret garden. Schoeffler’s garden will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 3502 East Simcoe. Call 234-4042 for more info. The ladies say the event will take place rain or shine.

Last week, the Lafayette Master Gardener’s Fall Plant Sale was rained out. The plant sale will take place this Saturday at the Ira Nelson Horticulture Center, 2206 Johnston St., where the Master Gardeners have been cultivating an exhibition garden. This is a great opportunity to find everything from rare specimens to old-fashioned species that adorned our grandmother’s cutting beds. Learn about hummingbird plants, then go pick one up from the Master Gardeners. The sale starts at 8 a.m. and continues till 1 p.m.