He is Groot(suikerkan)

 Not Groot:

Google translate didn't have a ready English translation for the Afrikaans GROOTSUIKERKAN.
Poking around the internet came up with 
groot = big, large, grand
suiker = sugar
kan = jug, drum, urn
 
So something like "big sugar jug" or "honey pot" is the common name, in Afrikaans, for Protea cynaroides.  I found one Protea site that said, "If you can grow avocados, you can grow Proteas." 
I can?!?  Okay then!
Protea cynaroides 'Mini King'.  He is Groot(suikerkan).
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Also in the Protea family, Leucadendrons are looking pretty, with a complementary background of orange Aloe striata flowers and purple Limonium perezii:
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Another Proteaceae, Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird' has buds!  I planted this one--last summer, I think.  Looking forward to the spectacular flowers, that will probably open early in April.  One of my tasks was giving them all a sprinkle of soil sulfur, to acidify the soil a bit.
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Aloe marlothii's first flower is open, there towards the center of the photo.  Last year and the year before, the flowers were quickly stripped from the plant by Orioles.
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Aloe cameronii is nearly finished blooming for the year.  I wish this one was a repeat bloomer, because the flowers are such a beautiful rainbow of warm oranges and yellows. 
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Grevillea 'Moonlight' has performed as advertised, continually blooming.  The shape of the new little flower there is echoed in the blurred background by the huge, still developing Dasylirion inflorescence. 
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Yesterday was a glorious winter day, warm but not hot.
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The wildlife were, in a word, pretty wild.  I spent time dealing with a couple of problems.  The first:  I noticed two half-grown Monarch caterpillars had just about stripped a small Asclepias.  They would soon have nothing to eat.  There were no other Milkweed plants in that part of the garden except for a few seedlings an inch (2.5 cm) tall.
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This stem is kind of chewy:
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I carefully lifted them off the bare Asclepias and onto a dry fallen 'Hercules' leaf...
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...and moved them about thirty feet away, to a pair of fully foliaged plants.  Plenty to eat again--I think there will be enough foliage to get them to full size.
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The louder, faster problem was poor Mrs. Hummer, who was being harrassed by not one, but two male Hummers who were performing mating dances for her.  She watched, in between chasing them away from the nest and feeding her two offspring.  She had a break only when the two males left to chase each other. 
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One of the males kept getting into the nest with the babies.  I was concerned he was going to peck them to death, or try to suffocate them, but apparently he was sitting with them waiting for Mrs. Hummer to take notice of him.  I chased him out several times, as did Mrs. Hummer.
Observe my handsome golden throat.  Please!
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The other male.
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Two hungry babies, two pushy boyfriends.  She's tired.  So is that rose foliage.   To be stripped when the babies fledge. 
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I put up the ladder to get a baby picture.  Mrs. H didn't seem overly concerned.  Too tired? 
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There's one baby...
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...and the other.  There are green feathers here and there on their heads and backs.  They have wing and tail feathers, too.  They still sit perfectly motionless unless Mrs. H. is there to feed them.  I suppose they will be ready to fledge if I see them flapping their little wings.  Tomorrow?  Soon.  
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Very soon.   Mrs. H. needs a rest, and the babies have grown so much they are starting to hang out of the nest. 
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What a big sugar jug of a winter's day.  Living groot.
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Comments

  1. Fabulous pictures of the babies!
    And I'm so jealous of your blue sky, sitting here as I am in jumpers and even a scarf. Indoors. Brrrr.

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    1. Are they not the cutest?

      Its warm and sunny here--too warm, too sunny. I was wearing a scarf outdoors--to protect from sunburn.

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  2. Wonderful pictures again, from your, for us exotic plants, the Proteas from South Africa and ending with those adorable little hummingbirds. These pushy boyfriends are beauties too, but I hope they leave the mother alone with her babies for a while. She must be exhausted.

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  3. You might not want to be so quick to strip the rose's leaves when the baby hummers fledge, because she might mate and lay another pair of eggs. Last year, I had a hummer lay three successive clutches in her nest. Sadly, she must have died while out on a foraging run because the third set of babies died quite young and just mummified in the nest. Broke my heart, but at least she raised four young 'uns successfully. Poor thing - she must have been exhausted!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, excepting Mrs. H's needs, of course. I am planing to watch what she does, if she is building a new nest elsewhere. The stuff located away from the nest can be worked on, as it goes a good 12 feet eastward from that point.

      That is heartbreaking about the 3rd set--too much for her, maybe. Single parenthood.

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  4. You've got good critters! And I am exhausted just thinking about Mrs. H's day.

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    Replies
    1. I was exhausted watching her. That and the digging and weeding and watering and caterpillar futzing.

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  5. Wonderful photos! I got a few shots of a hummer feeding from our Calliandra this morning but they're unimpressive by comparison. Poor Mrs. Hummer - I hope she takes a break before starting another brood.

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    Replies
    1. She's zipping around like crazy today. I suppose sitting on eggs for a week or more might be a rest--maybe?

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  6. Enjoying two suitors vying for one's attention is only for the very young. Mrs. Hummer would, I suspect, agree.
    Proteas are flowers that I splurge on every so often at the flower stall. They dry as beautifully as they live...and oh, that serrated foliage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She wasn't watching them with a whole lot of enthusiasm. I'm looking forward to a Protea bloom--I hope---we'll see...

      Valley Center in San Diego County is the seat of commercial Protea flower production for the florist trade, apparently. I wonder if any hillsides covered with them are visible anywhere. What a show that must be.

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  7. What a fine winter day - are you due for any of that rain happening further north? You are creating some excellent habitat there. It may not advance that particular effort, but I love the Aloe cameronii blooms. I'm a sucker for orange mixed with yellow and/or pink.

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    1. It has clouded over, but that's it. It will help the reservoirs up north--that is something!

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  8. Great photos as always and Mrs. H is one hard working mummy!

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    1. Very hard working--she's zipping around like crazy. I ended up putting a hummingbird feeder up to help her out--and she's been at it all afternoon.

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  9. I can't believe you were able to take photos of hummers! That's amazing! I don't think I've ever had a nest in my garden but I do have a lot of adults in the summer. Lucky lucky you to get so close. :o)

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    Replies
    1. I think Mrs. H saw me around so much she got used to me. I was lucky!

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  10. Wonderful portraits of hummingbird nestlings, their hard-working mom, and the bothersome suitors! Your bird photography skills are killing me, here. Thanks so much for posting these photos!

    Yours are Allen's Hummingbirds -- a beautiful coastal species. The doppelganger Rufous Hummingbirds are just beginning to show up, on their way to their nesting grounds. The Rufous nests in the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Alaska, farther north than any other hummingbird -- just amazing to think how far that little creature travels. eBird, the giant data base of gazillions of bird sightings, says fewer than a dozen or so Rufous have been seen in Southern California so far this year (though many more will be streaming through soon). The Allen's, meanwhile, keeps nesting further and further inland, and I must stop being such a bird nerd now and just thank you again for the wonderful photos!! (I think the links are dynamic, so it might be interesting to see what they look like in a week or two.)

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    1. Thanks for the links and bird information! Bird nerd is good.Happy you enjoyed the pics. Mrs. H's work and effort was something to see.

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  11. So cute!!! I love it!! and poor Mrs. Hummer, that sounds very tiring...
    the caterpillars look well fed, and I like that black lizard too! having fauna in the garden is so magical :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. It was scary how hard Mrs. Hummer had to work!

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  12. How sweet! We had visitors from back east last week and they were going nuts over the hummingbirds that we take so for granted. Shame on us and thank you for reminding us how amazing they are! Wonderful pictures!

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    1. They are the jewels of the garden, the bling. :^)

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