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And the hummingbirds returned a bit early

Over the weekend I received an update on the Horticulture Center gardens in west Fairmount Park. They're known as the Centennial Gardens, named for the 1876 Centennial that was celebrated there. You may recall my story and earlier post on super-volunteer Pamela Sodi, who was practically singlehandedly attempting to restore 10 overgrown and neglected garden beds.

After the story ran, readers responded. Pamela says she now has 14 volunteers. They've revived 8 of the 10 gardens and were just assigned an 11th. She even heard from someone who directed her to some grant money for public gardens!

Pamela's new cadre of volunteers has a name now, too - the Centennial Garden Tenders. Wish them luck.

Pamela also relates that last Wednesday, she and another volunteer were sitting on a bench in front of the Hummingbird Garden, when they spotted two hummingbirds - they're back up north two to three weeks early. They headed straight for the trumpet vine, which is not yet in bloom, then to the black and blue salvia patch, which is not yet big enough to bloom. Dive in, boys and girls!

Pamela and her sidekick had just moved a shrimp tree, a hummingbird favorite, out of the greenhouse and into the garden, along with five hibiscus. The hummers went for those, and an abutilon and some begonias that hadn't been planted yet. The red Texas sage and peach sage started from seed, now planted on a trellis, also drew them in.

So eager were these little birds that they were trying to drink from feeders that were still covered in Saran Wrap on the bench. After all, no one was expecting hummingbirds for another few weeks. But here they are.

"It's time for a celebration!" Pamela says. YES, IT IS!!