Limelight Hydrangeas in Bloom and Sweet Visitors To The Porch

Just popping in this Sunday afternoon with a quick post…a couple of random things that are going on right now that I thought you might enjoy. You may remember last year I purchased a Limelight Hydrangea to go in front when I was landscaping the front yard with boxwood shrubs. I already had one of these tree form hydrangeas but decided I wanted one on each side of the front porch.

This photo is from last year right after I had placed it in a large planter in front.

Standard, Tree-form Limelight Hydrangea in Planter


I really need to do a full post and show you how much the boxwood shrubs have grown! They put on so much new growth this spring!

Both of the Limelight Hydrangeas are visible in this photo from last year shortly after I planted them in large planters out front. Notice how the newly purchased Limelight Hydrangea on the left is blooming while the one I purchased the year before hadn’t started yet. They were totally out of sync last year.

Frontyard Landscaping with Boxwood Shrubs and Limelight Hydrangeas


This year they are both blooming at the same time. Yay! I do love how they look in front between the windows. They add height and break up the same/same that’s going on with the height of the boxwood shrubs. I like that they don’t block out any light coming into the living and dining rooms and I love seeing their big, fluffy blossoms from inside those two rooms.

The Savannah Holly that’s on the right corner (not visible in the photo) is doing very well, also. We’ve had such a great spring/summer with lots of wonderful rain!


A little close-up of the one on the left side of the house…


See that blue arrow on the left in the photo below? It’s pointing to a little Eastern Phoebe bird that’s perched atop the dovecote.


A wren has been nesting in one of the little openings/niches in the dovecote, despite the fact two Phoebe birds are taking turns sitting atop the finial of the dovecote every single day. Somehow they all get along. That’s one of the Phoebe’s in this photo below.


I’ve been putting out meal worms in a bowl and Mrs. Wren has been feeding them to her babies, despite having a Phoebe perched a few inches overhead. I think the wren babies may have fledged this morning, though.

Eastern Phoebe atop Birdhouse


So, why have two Phoebes been taking turns sitting atop the dovecote for the last few weeks?

Eastern Phoebe


Because this is going on under the roof of my front porch a few feet away. (I took this with a zoom lens, standing in my front door way.)


I think there are three babies in the nest, I’ve seen three heads popping up regularly. Update: I think I saw 4 little heads after I put this post up. That’s a lot of mouths to feed!


I can’t tell which is Mom and which is Dad, but one Phoebe is almost always sitting atop the dovecote while the other is usually perched on the top of one of the two benches on the porch. I’ve read that both mom and dad feed the babies.

Flag Pillow for Bench, Front Porch


The Eastern Phoebe is a “fly-catcher,” so as you might guess, they eat insects. I’ve been placing mealworms in a bowl for them a couple of times a day, too. Today I saw either Mom or Dad feeding the mealworms to the babies. I’ve read that it really helps birds to offer mealworms during the nesting season because the further the parents have to fly away from the nest to find food, the bigger the chance they will fall prey to something like a cat or a hawk or a car, etc…

Eastern Phoebe


I try to make mealworms available this time of year when so many birds are nesting. I’ve also had bluebirds coming every day to eat mealworms in the backyard. Earlier today a Dad brought two babies who literally got inside the bowl with the worms to eat. It was hilarious to see!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture since it would have scared them off to open back the shutters to take a photo, but you can see a little slide show I filmed a few years back of bluebirds dining on mealworms in my backyard here: Bluebirds Dining on Mealworms.

Eastern Phoebe Birds in Nest


If interested, you’ll find more information about the Eastern Phoebe here: Eastern Phoebe.

Pssst: I post almost daily to Instagram. Follow Between Naps on the Porch on Instagram here: Between Naps On The Porch.

Eastern Phoebe


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  1. Beautiful!
    I added a limelight to my garden this year, and currently have a red (Lord Baltimore hibiscus), white (limelight) & blue (endless summer hydrangea) show going on in my back landscape, with the US flag among them. It’s a great year in the garden – we were due!
    Enjoy your 4th, Susan.

  2. My yard is full of hydrangeas and I really love the limelights. They are so easy to dry. Last year I had a vase of them in my shop and they dried beautifully just sitting in the vase. A customer walked in and wanted to buy them! Plan to cut some of mine tomorrow for a July 4th centerpiece. Happy Independence day!

  3. I saw my first Phoebe this summer, and have heard their incessant call before I saw them and wondered what it was. My Limelight are doing well this year too. One went from being about 3 feet tall to over 6 feet. It is full of beautiful blooms. I can’t bring myself to get meal worms. They give me the creeps. Especially the live ones. LOL.

    • Your Limelight sounds beautiful, Pam! It must be all this good rain we’ve been getting. The mealworms really aren’t that bad, there are so small so they’re not scary or too yucky. LOL

  4. I do not have a single Limelight but your post has inspired me to plant some! Yours look amazing in between the windows!

  5. Your Limelights are gorgeous. They sure must love the spot you planted them in. I bought 5 last year and planted them at the back of my yard under trees. They aren’t blooming. Probably a big mistake because it might be a little too shady.
    Love your little feathered family. The wrens, purple finches and doves are all trying to build nests in my hanging ferns on my porch. I’d let them have it, but two years ago I go out on the porch and there was a 5 ft (at least) black snake slithering up the railing headed for a fern that had a nest of eggs in it. Never again! I keep shooing the birds away. They must like the ferns more than the birdhouses I have.

    • I wonder if they are getting too much shade. These do get some sun during the day.
      That’s too cute about the birds. Yikes, I have seen snakes in my yard in the past, but not in a long time.

    • Anne, OMG! I have to tell you what just happened! I went to the bird store to buy more meal worms. When I got back, I ate lunch then I went to my entry foyer and looked out/up at the nest. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that looked weird. Is was a very long black snake, stretched out across the back and arm of one of the black benches. I almost didn’t see him!!!

      I ran to the garage and got a broom and shove him so hard off the bench, he landed two shrubs over. He immediately slithered off at a rapid rate. Never saw a snake move so fast. I brought both of the black benches in and they are in my foyer. I’m not sure but I guess he could have reached across from the bench and maybe wrapped himself around one of the columns to crawl up to the birds. The columns are really fat. Do you think a snake can crawl up a really fat column? I have to think of a way to keep him from coming back.
      The babies are okay. I put out some meal worms on a step ladder in the front yard and I saw both mom and dad, so I know they are okay, too. I’m worried that snake will come back. How do birds ever survive with snakes around!

  6. Susan, I so impressed with your hydrangeas. Do you over winter them in your garage or leave them in the pots? I would like to try some here, but doubtful they can survive the summer heat. How often do you have to water them in the container? They are gorgeous! How I would love to have some here in my garden.
    Love reading about your birds.

    • Thanks, Sarah! No, I just leave them where they are. The pots are so huge, I wouldn’t be able to move them. We had a very mild winter this past winter. I hope they survive if we have a bad one, guess time will tell.

    • Sarah, something just dawned on me. The Standard (tree-form) hydrangeas I have in large pots on my deck are still doing great, and they have been through several winters. So, that’s encouraging. Hopefully these will survive okay if we have a harsh winter come our way.

  7. Gwen Healy says

    Dear Susan, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…you exhaust me with your blog articles.
    I just loved reading your little birds story and and your hydrageas are so beautiful, especially placed where they are. You really work your magic in so many ways.
    I don’t know where you get the time and energy to keep us so informed of your day to day happenings I so enjoy reading them and have been a devoted follower for a very long time.
    If only you could bottle your energy and enthusiasm you would make a fortune!
    Happy 4th July!

  8. The before pictures show how much the limelights have this season. And great photography on those birds, especially the zooms. And it looks like the word is out in the avian world: free meal worms at Susan’s.

  9. Wanda Flowers says

    Your home is always so very beautiful and the Limelight Hydrangeas are gorgeous. i have two also at the back porch on each side of the step as you are coming down and they are beautiful and i always love Hydrangeas, they are one of my favorite flowers! keep up the beautiful work and hope to see more of your gorgeous home and also love the baby birds.

  10. Nancy B. says

    Hi Susan πŸ™‚ Loved reading about your birds, and seeing pictures too! My moms name was Phoebe so that was extra fun to see a Phoebe bird .. and babies! I enjoy the posts about your home and garden. (well I enjoy all your posts πŸ™‚

    I love your new wicker purse! Your upcoming trip sounds like lots of fun and to have reader companions will be a treat for all.

    Happy Independence Day to you!

  11. Cynthia Raines says

    Susan, your Limelights are beautiful! I am happy my Hydrangea is blooming this year. Last year only 2 blooms, this year around 11 so I’m making progress. The babies are darling! I read about the Phoebe and was pleased to read that it summers in MI. I’ll have to watch out for her. This year, I purchased dried Meal worms after reading how you purchased the live ones and keep them in your refrigerator. I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that so I purchased the dried ones which came in a large “cake” and you place it in a holder, like the suet holders. My hope was to draw Blue Birds. Didn’t get any Blue Birds, but the following LOVE and DEVOUR the meal worm cakes: Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, and even a Robin perched on the holder which shocked me as they are usually ground feeders. I am thrilled that they all are enjoying it, just wish I would have drawn in the Blue Birds. Oh, well, maybe next year!

    • Thanks so much, Cyndi! Your hydrangea sounds like my magnolia. It hardly had any flowers in the beginning, even though it was huge. Over the years it has had more and more until now each year, it has lots! I guess it just takes some plants a while to mature to that point. I bet next year your Hydrangea will have tons! I don’t think I fertilized mine, wonder if I should have? lol

      Yes! It’s amazing how many birds do love them! It took several years before the bluebirds came to my yard, but once they find you and realize you’re putting out filet mignon on the birdie buffet, they never forget and neither do their kids. They will come back year after year. πŸ™‚

  12. Oh, my, your home looks wonderful. I guess those hydrangeas “had a talk” and decided they’d better get their act together and bloom at the same time!! Love the height and color they add to your front yard. So much talent, Susan, and you raise birds, too!!! A wonderful post. Thank you.

  13. The hydrangeas are beautiful Susan and the Phoebes are just the sweetest!
    Wishing you a happy 4th of July. Warm hugs -Brenda-
    P.S.: Canada just celebrated their 105th Birthday on July 1st.

    • Thanks so much, Brenda! Congrats on your 105th Birthday celebration there! So cool that our celebrations are so close together! πŸ™‚

  14. Vikki Barnette says

    Oh wow Susan your Limelight Hydrangea are looking perfect! What a great idea to place them where you have. I have 2 Limelights in my back flowerbed but I need more! A couple of weeks ago I noticed one branch close to the ground so I scraped off a little of the bark on that stem, pushed the mulch to one side, roughed up the soil a bit and anchored the branch atop the soil with a large stone. Next spring I should have a rooted Limelight hydrangea that I can cut from the mother plant and replant where ever I would like. Hydrangea are so easy to root this way. I’ve done several Endless Summer this way. Too bad you do not live closer, I would gladly root one for you. I love your sweet bird stories. Those are some lucky birds to live in your neighborhood. Vikki in VA.

    • I really do love them there. I was just trying to think of a way to break up the same-same height going on with all the boxwoods, plus I had a Limelight Hydrangea that needed to get into the ground and out of the tiny pot it had come in, and that’s when it hit me to put it (and another one that I soon purchased) into really large planters. It also solved the problem I was having on trying to decide where to plant it since it can easily be moved. πŸ™‚

      What a smart way to root more plants! Genius idea! If I ever buy any of the Endless Summer hydrangeas that I’ve been meaning to buy, I’m going to remember that tip! Thanks, Vikki!

  15. Marlene Stephenson says

    Your lime lights are beautiful. I love watching birds too they really are comical, sometimes.

  16. I love hydrangeas and yours are lovely!

  17. Susan – I remember one future project was for you to develop that front right-side room off your front hall. You had the lovely cabinetry and were going to tie it all together. I look forward to an update on that project as it is something I would love to do!! Plus an excuse for you to buy more furniture and accessories!!

    • I was just thinking about that the other day. I should be doing bathrooms next but I really would rather do that room. lol I would love to see it done before I move one day.

  18. Kathleen says

    I love that shot of the front of your house. Could be in a garden magazine! Blooms are gorgeous. I also have a nest full of little babies under my eave. The mama and daddy are constantly bringing “winged goodies” to the babies. I can see them from my kitchen window; sometimes catching food in mid air. I worry, though, because I have a lot of cats (and dogs) and when the babies are ready to try out their wings it could be very dangerous for them.

    • Thanks so much, Kathleen! I still need to do a bit more landscaping out front but it’s finally getting there. πŸ™‚

      Kathleen, be sure and check out the post I’m putting up today. It will go in about 10 minutes, if not sooner. I had a snake try to get to my babies, but I saw him and threw him out into the yard. I hope he doesn’t come back!

  19. Great curb appeal. Your front yard landscape looks terrific. What a big change since 2013 when you completed all those tree and bush removals.

  20. Hi. Inlove your door color. What color is that? Im thinking of painting my door with a pop color and that is just the perfect shade. Thanks in advance.

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