Visit of a Hummingbird Moth

One of the greatest gifts our gardens have to offer is to see who shows up. Right? Does it not cheer you immensely when a different kind of bird is spotted in a backyard tree, building a nest? Or the delight in finding ladybugs helping out with aphids that are invading your roses? Who is not thrilled with finding a butterfly never seen before among our blossoms? And it is even more exciting when we are able to catch the visitor on our cameras and to share on social media! These are some of my favorite moments in the garden and I love sharing those discoveries with all of you here on this blog, on FB and Twitter. (I am just now sorting out Instagram, and can be found at TheKathrynHall, if you would like to follow.)

And so it was very exciting the afternoon a creature I’d never seen before, ever, anywhere, came flitting through the largest of the butterfly bushes in the back garden. It seemed to be a hummingbird, but I knew it was not. Then what was it?? And whoosh, in a few seconds it was gone, and I’d scarcely gotten a view. I did a bit of research and realized it was apparently a hummingbird moth! I’d never even heard of a hummingbird moth before. Have you? In speaking with people it doesn’t seem they are so common, though they do not appear to be endangered I’m happy to report.

And so I wished deeply another would visit, and one afternoon, weeks later, I got my wish fulfilled, as, above the tallest branches of the butterfly bush, among purple blossoms, was the fast moving creature–and, luckily, and I happened to have my iPhone in hand, set to video! I’ve learned in photographing butterflies, how precious these moments are, and I quickly set the video in motion, capturing this dance of this little hummingbird moth. Inspired I used Flipagram to add music, and above you may have already viewed the result!
It captures the moment and allows me to share with all of you to pique your interest. They surely are one of the sweetest visitors to my garden, and I hope for more.
What are some of the unexpected visitors to your garden that brighten your day?

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: A new review of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy has just appeared in Readers’ Favorite Book Review. And an excerpt from my book will appear in the winter issue of GreenPrints Magazine. I want to extend a sincere thank you to all who have taken the time to post reviews of my book on Amazon. Each one is a treasure and it makes such a difference in letting others know of your love for the book. Thank you! xoxo

Book Notes: Reimagining the California Lawn


A recent visit to a local gardening club allowed me to meet someone from the local chapter of a group dedicated to encouraging the planting of native plants. Among their materials was a book I was drawn to immediately, Reimagining the California Lawn: Water Conserving Plants, Practices and Designs (Cachuma Press) authored by Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O’Brien. As I’m sure you know, Californians statewide are grappling with reduced water resources and alternatives are being sought out by landscapers and home gardeners alike.
Now entering our fifth year of reduced rain and snowfall, pouring water out onto our long held practice of lush green lawns is no longer feasible, or even acceptable. Gardeners everywhere are turning to practical alternatives, and the results are often a delight. And Reimagining the California Lawn is helping to light the way! The book is graced with the exquisite photos of well known and highly regarded gardening photographer Saxon Holt, as well as editor/photographer John Evarts. I found all the photos invaluable, as they truly do highlight the many possibilities of a lawn reimagined. This shift in rethinking how we plan and use our gardens is nothing short of a sea change, and I think we all need all the help we can get, don’t you?


Reimagining the California Lawn is structured around three primary chapters: Garden Designs for Lawn Replacement; How to Manage, Reduce, or Remove Your Lawn; and a very extensive and helpful third chapter, called Plant Profiles, which readers will very much appreciate. These three sections are followed by a Recommended Plant Selections, listing choices for these considerations: Aggressive, Aromatic Foliage, Attractive to Bees, Bulletproof, Deer Resistant, Dried Arrangements, Dry Shade, Dry Wind, Fast Growing, Frost Tender, Hummingbirds, Poisonous/Allergenic, Poor Drainage, Seashore Conditions, Silver,Gray, White or Blue Foliage, Slow Growing, Spiny or Prickly. Isn’t that a resource-rich list? It makes me want to look plants up right away!

Here are some more visual suggestions taken from Reimagining the California Lawn:

Barrel cactus

Carex praegracillis-Lawn substitute Carex praegracillis

Artichoke agave with blue fescue

Canyon Prince wild rye and autumn moor grass

While Californians and other westerly states might best benefit from this book, I believe there is a bit of something for everyone. And the photos alone are worth the price of the book. It’s that beautiful and inspiring. I’m very happy to have it in my library. Highly recommended!

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: Pleased to announce an excerpt from Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden will be included in the winter issue of GreenPrints magazine! Also, this blog, Plant Whatever Brings You Joy was recently named Gardening Blog of the Week by Nature Hills Nursery, America’s Largest Online Plant Nursery! We are honored!

Know and Include a Wide Variety of Species in Your Garden

PWBYJ Front Cover425

Dearest Readers,

Amazingly, it has been six years since the publication of my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden! In honor of this anniversary I am sharing the final chapter of my book with you today. It will not go unnoticed that this chapter speaks to diversity, which I cherish, as do all gardeners and travelers, alike. I hope you will enjoy.

In addition, Goodreads is hosting a Giveaway of three copies of my book. There are five days left to enter. Please enter and good luck!

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxxo

Know and Include a Wide Variety of Species in Your Garden

I don’t know where the expression Pig Heaven comes from, but whenever
I have lived in the country, that’s where I’ve been. In Pig Heaven.
One of the greatest joys of having lived at the end of a dirt road on four
acres of property in the woods was that I really could have as many animals
as I wanted — and was surrounded by other people’s animals, as
well as the ones who lived there in their natural habitat. We lived among
them, I often reminded myself. They arrived first, and I tried to abide
respectfully with that in the front of my mind.
My own extended creature tribe grew to include that gorgeous Bantam
rooster, Chanticleer, whom you will recall I found camped out bravely
in the woods, wisely next to a stream, and his girlfriend, Henny Penny;
two English budgies; the 23 canaries; the cats: spunky old Amelia and
my precious Honeypot, and later, Luna, the Maine Coon showcat and
my beloved Border Collies, Moxie and Peaches.
Adding to my joy were my neighbors’ animals with whom I shared
various fences. I fondly visited Cheyenne the donkey, whose pasture
butted up against my apple orchard near the entrance to my property.
Handy for her. And how I treasured the 32-year-old sway back horse
belonging to my German neighbors who lived just below, all without the
direct and daily responsibilities of taking care of either of them. I was
like the auntie, who called friendly greetings and offered the occasional
apple, allowing them to munch their way to their own Pig Heaven.
One of my very favorite adventures with Cheyenne was the day I
decided to include her in a photo shoot I did for a visiting Mexican
mariachi band in exchange for their playing their lively music at my
daughter’s 30th birthday party. The band returned a week later in full
costume, complete with black embroidered jackets and wide matching
sombreros and I marched them all down to the orchard in the hot sun
and lined them up along the fence, with Cheyenne occupying the center
of the photos. I take great delight knowing she is likely now gracing
the cover of this mariachi band’s latest CD somewhere in Guadalajara,
unbeknownst to her owners.
Not limited to domestic animals, my kingdom included a restless fox
who arrived on Christmas Eve only to pace up and down the dirt drive
that ran before my front door for a full ten minutes. I don’t know why.
Deer traipsed through almost daily, including a spectacular young buck
with large proud points who allowed me to photograph him one bright
spring afternoon as he stood alertly facing me in the garden in front of
my guest cabin. Wild turkeys came often and voraciously cleaned up
the corn spill from Chanti and Henny Penny’s pens. They would surround
the pens in a scarf of feathers and give new meaning to the word
gobble, and having eaten the last crumb, would depart, only to return
to scavenge another day. Coyotes threaded their way through the warp
and woof of daily life in the woods. Each bore different energies, and
different agendas, a good lesson. Some could be trusted. Others certainly
could not and I would protectively draw the cats closer to the hearth.
As each animal crossed my path I researched. I hit the Net. I looked
them up. I read about each one, expanding my knowledge of their habits,
their lives, their inclinations. I dispelled wives’ tales I’d heard as a child.
I educated neighbors who eyed their guns when the coyotes and wild
turkeys passed through. I learned to better trust my own instincts. This
coyote is here for apples. That one is here for cats or anything else it can
churn into energy to survive.
Sitting on the bank one afternoon just out of reach beyond the flimsy
wire fence sat, what? A cat? No. A grey fox. Staring at me. I retired to the
house, somewhat shaken. Still, the frame of the sighting was precious.
Strangers’ cats crossed the land. Neighbors’ cows drifted in. And out.
A mouse in the toilet at 2:00 AM. Really. I had almost sat down but
noticed an unfamiliar shadow in the bowl, illuminated by the nightlight
and turned on the overhead light just in time. What to do? Call the
dogs. Sleepily the dogs peek into the toilet bowl. What do you want us
to do? Do something! They try to rouse from their slumber, eyes barely
open. It’s a mouse. Yes, I know it’s a mouse. In my toilet. Help me out.
They try to respond but it’s beyond their comprehension at this hour.
A simple mouse. In the toilet. They go back to bed. In sleepy desperation,
I flush the toilet. Twice. It’s gone. Sometimes the most expedient
and obvious solution is not what you really would want to have chosen
under other conditions.
These adventures are now a firm part of my world, richly included
among the many joys of my life. I deeply treasure having lived in the
woods on the edge of the unknown, sharing my life, my chapters within
the natural habitat of other creatures, my heart expanding with each
interaction, as each lovely one entered the stage of my life, sharing with
me, gracing me with their exquisite presence.
Each and every adventure I have chosen, dear readers, held within it
the power to expand, to teach. The more I risked, the wider and more
diversely I chose, the richer my experience and the more precious the
gift. I have been so blessed. Aren’t we all?

Moxie and Peaches in the garden

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Plant Whatever Brings You Joy by Kathryn  Hall

Plant Whatever Brings You Joy

by Kathryn Hall

Giveaway ends July 17, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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