A lot of friends have joined me in my garden over the years. Only a few of them, however, have been human!
For instance, for quite a few summers, my garden hosted Al, my bee. He needed a small name, because he was a small bee. He lived in a hole in my fence and, every year, he would engage in home improvements. I could tell when he was expanding his mini-mansion, because a tiny pile of sawdust would collect beneath his hole.
Every summer, Alexis and Regita, my house wrens, set up a nest in a gourd birdhouse. I pick a new birdhouse each year, and know that I can look forward to Alexis’ exuberant trilling song as he declares to all that this is his garden. Then come the peeps of the babies as Alexis and Regita rush back and forth all day long delivering an endless stream of bugs to wide-open mouths.
Praying mantises frequently stalk their prey on my plants. Last year, Cleopatra and Anastasia staked out opposite ends of the garden. They needed long names, since they are such long bugs!
Quincy Toast is my chipmunk, a welcome littlebit of furry cheer in the garden. His name was a compromise between me and my neighbor (with whom I share a fence). I named him Quincy. However, when I told my neighbor, she informed me that – since he was digging up her plants – his name was “toast.” So now, he is Quincy Toast!
Starlight, Mitsy, Thistledown, and Priscilla are baby bunnies who have visited over the years to nibble clover in my small patch of lawn … and, on one occasion, my entire array of pentas in my garden bed. I couldn’t be upset with Thistledown for the depredations, though – she was too adorable for words!
Then there are the friends who drop in just once in a while – like Gandalf, my Cooper’s hawk, and my pair of hummingbirds, Gerkin and Dilly (hey, they look like little flying pickles!). Even at night, my garden gives a welcome, such as the few evenings Ragamuffin, my opossum, stopped by to snack on birdseed.
There are others, too. Alexander, my Caroline wren. Buzz, my catbird. A pretty green and yellow spider named Zoe who spins her delicate webs each night between plants. And Klyd, my hummingbird moth, who stops by in later summer to sip from zinnias.
Why give them names? Well, put simply, why not? They are my friends. I spend time with them in the garden, learning their ways. I am comfortable with them, and they are comfortable with me.
By giving my visitors names, I declare that they are special. Unique. Important. With so many familiar faces – some furry, some feathered, some bug-eyed – I am never lonely in my garden. I am always surrounded by wonderful garden friends!