I have three hanging baskets, one by my front door and two on the balcony that leads off my living room. I’m not much of a gardener (nor do I have a lot of yard in which to garden), so hanging baskets and flower boxes and pots are about all I can handle. I like the idea of gardening much more than the actual doing of it. That whole getting-dirt-underneath-my-fingernails thing is not fun for me.
I’m also not that great at remembering to water the damn containers. The ones in my back yard do get rained upon, so they’ve been doing quite well so far this season, since it’s been mostly rainy. The ones on the balcony and the hanging basket at the front door do not get any rain, as those are covered areas. Those are the ones I NEED to water regularly, and I often don’t remember to do so until they are all wilty. If I’m lucky, they’ll come back very quickly once I do water them, but every year I lose one or two due to my neglect.
So early Saturday evening, there I was, watering all my outdoor plants. It hadn’t rained for a record two or three days (well, that’s a record for this year!) and the temperatures have been climbing lately (finally!), so I knew all the plants might be a bit thirsty. PG was on his way over with a small shelf unit for my classroom at school, donated by his brother-in-law, so I wanted to get my domestic duties done so that we could sit down and have a couple of drinks and discuss world affairs (or at least the Boston-Vancouver hockey series).
I went to the front porch and tipped the watering can up to the hanging basket. The water started to pour in – and then there was a huge commotion and it felt like something large and spidery or maybe buglike had blown into my face. I squealed and jumped back, somehow not dropping the watering can. Heart pounding, I wiped my face. No apparent damage. I looked at the hanging basket, swaying there gently. I looked warily around the porch, hoping not to find a large spider or bug anywhere.
I didn’t. I also had no clue what had just happened.
But there was a very noisy little bird sitting on the fence below me, a finch I think. I looked at it. It looked at me, chirping incessantly. Then it slowly dawned on me: that bird had flown into my face. That bird had been sitting in the hanging basket that I had been attempting to water. No wonder it had launched itself out of the basket so alarmingly – imagine sitting somewhere green, leafy and fragrant, minding your own business, and suddenly there’s a waterfall pouring onto you. I’d leap out of wherever I was too!
I quickly ducked back into the house, slamming the door behind me before that bird got nasty. And just then, PG drove up and parked in front of the garage to unload the shelf unit he’d brought me. I ran through the house downstairs to the garage,opened the door, and ran up to PG. I didn’t even give him the chance to get out of the car before telling him what had just happened. “I was so scared!” I wailed. “Can you come and see if that bird is still there? I’m scared to!”
PG good-naturedly came up to the front porch and gave the bottom of the hanging basket a sharp whack. The little finch again erupted out of the basket, startling both of us. It again flew to the fence, where it sat and scolded us in its finch-y way.
PG carefully took the basket down and finished watering it for me. Then he probed around the plants to see if there was a nest or eggs in there. If so, I was doomed to have a bird in my basket, he reasoned, but no, there was nothing there. “You can move the basket so it’ll have to find another home, give it a poke every time you go by to make it uncomfortable for the bird so it’ll go somewhere else, or you can just let it be,” he advised me. “You’re kinda lucky, really. How many people ever have a bird living in their hanging basket?”
Well, I guess he’s right. I am kinda lucky. So I’m one of those people now.
I just hope I remember to whack the bottom of the basket before I water it in the future. If I don’t, that finch will give me a heart attack one of these days, I just know it!