Hmmmm... I am consulting my hummingbird book (The Hummingbird Book by Donald and Lillian Stokes) to find the answers for you.
Unfortunately you and I live in the east, meaning we will only see Ruby-throats, but that's okay!
The woods are a fine place for a habitat. This will give a female many options as to which tree
to build her nest in. Most hummers will use downy plant
fibers, spider silk and lichens for nest material. They also love to perch in a place where they can overlook their territory, and it sounds like you should have plenty of varying tree
heights from which the hummers can keep an eye on things. Hummers spend 60% of their time perched. If your woods are too shady in the deep parts they probably will not venture too far into them. I wouldn't worry too much about that though, if you end up planting flowers
that need a lot of sun I think the hummers would be fine to have a shaded area nearby to nest in or cool off. She will also prefer a shady spot to build her nest so the eggs won't get too hot.
It's a good idea to put out a birdbath too (very shallow of course) because they need to bathe and drink like any other bird.
You live in the east, and here is a list of flowers
that may grow well in your area, and that the little birds love:
Red Morning Glory
Wild Sweet William
You'll have to conduct your own research as to what growing
requirements each of these flowers
need to thrive. It's smart to choose varying plants
at all different times so that the hummer will always have a reason to come there.
I only recently looked at this list of flowers
and I believe it's too late to plant
a whole lot, as the hummer will leave my area by October. I sure got the wheels a-turnin' thinking about what to plant
As for your mother's stake with the feeder on it... I wouldn't hesitate to raise it up to four feet or so, perhaps that would deter animals from trying to reach it. Maybe get one of those stakes shaped like a Shepherd's crook that are used for hanging flower
baskets, but I don't know how high most of them are.
I hope I was able to help and good luck with everything!!! If you get a chance to buy the book That I got this info from, do it... it's like a complete A-Z guide for hummer-watchers