Friday, August 2, 2013

Hummingbird Flowers are on Fire!

Perfectly behaved and neatly coifed zinnias waiting for hummingbird visitors

This spring I purchased seeds for plants that were supposed to attract hummingbirds. I have planted them in four different gardens around the city. It's the beginning of August and many of them are now in full bloom. I was sitting in my back yard moping about having spent all this time and energy and no hummers were visiting the flowers. Just at that moment, a sweet female Anna's came and fed at the Cardinal Creeper. I was so excited. But what made my heart burst, was when her male partner joined her and they both fed in the garden. Now they are returning every day.

Sweet peas in lipstick shades

They were really into those Cardinal Creepers, but they did sip at the red sweet peas and I saw one stick her beak in a California poppy that had closed for the night. Hummingbirds seem to like to travel at dusk to fill up for the long night, so the morning glories are finished, but they were still trying to get nectar out of the blossoms. Hummingbirds don't have a sense of smell, so the intense fragrance of the sweet peas is lost on them, but I have been enjoying their sweet smell of summer.

You can see why they are attracted to the cardinal climber blossoms. They are classic red trumpet-shaped flowers. I would say these and the red monardas are the flowers that really draw the hummingbirds in and then they tend to sample other plants around these ones.

 I thought these morning glories were supposed to be red, but they are next to a pink rose, so I don't mind so much. Please note, these are not invasive like the white morning glories that are a pest in this province. I've planted them in pots as I try to get a handle on the goutweed in this section of the garden.

Along with my anise hyssop for bees, I  have planted these varieties of agastache (hummingbird mint) which have the longer blossoms for the hummers.

These fragrant agastache come in shades of pink and orange.

 This is Cleome spinosa, and I am curios to see how the birds feed at these wacky flowers.

This is hummingbird salvia. I also planted some of the salvias with the bright blue blossoms, but they have finished blooming.

 One of the hummingbird salvias has white blooms, which I believe is a mutation or a throw back to its wild origins. I'll have to save the seed and see if I can cultivate more of these.

I'm always happy to see these skippers in the garden!

 I visited Banyen Books yesterday and realized that the garden along their east side contains cool hummingbird plants. I don't know what these plants with the creamy yellow blossoms, but they would suit hummers.

This is a jasmine that can overwinter in Vancouver.

 This is orange trumpet creeper vine, aka Campsis radicans. Native to the Southern US, they come with a big invasive warning. The roots can damage property and you should collect the seeds before they fall to the ground.

Finally, the bergamot next to the street is finishing up. The scavenger in me wanted to collect and dry all those lovely red blossoms.

This is monarda at the City Hall community garden. The hummingbirds perch in nearby trees and then swoop down to feed when the coast is clear. If you want hummingbirds in your garden, this plant is a true "hummingbird magnet" along with fuschias, red-flowering currant, honeysuckle and crocosmia. If you plant it, they will come!

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