This summer I catered my potted plants in the patio area specifically for my favorite summer visitors – sweet hummingbirds.
I have one Mona Lavender Plectranthus that they seem to like quite well enough.
But their main staple are annual salvias. Over the course of the summer, I collected a total of seven different varieties and colors.
I found this lovely blue variety, late summer at Lowe’s for half off. If the varieties are unnamed, it’s because I’ve lost the tags. Unfortunately, I’m pretty good at losing tags.
I have two blue varieties, two purple varieties, one chartreuse, and two pink varieties. This variety is Skyscraper Pink.
The other pink variety is Wendy’s Wish. I bought three of this plant late last summer at 75% off and put them in one pot together. Unfortunately Wendy’s Wish is a sterile variety which I discovered only after two failed attempts of trying to grow her seeds.
Over the winter I kept Wendy in a low-temp heated greenhouse, where she bloomed all the way into spring. I cut her back in the spring, but after blooming all winter, I think she was tired, and didn’t bloom as well this summer. She is now so large I can’t pick up her pot anymore. So in October, I plan to split her back into three separate plants in three separate pots. This time I will cut back each plant and let her rest over the winter, hoping for better results next summer.
I love this chartreuse salvia with its deep colored flowers and leaves.
The purple varieties I have are Rockin Purple and Black and Blue. Both are lovely shades of purple.
Besides a nice selection of salvia, I also have a nice collection of feeders. I started with one feeder last year, but went a little crazy this spring and added four more. Then to finish out the season, I picked up three more on sale for a total of eight.
My hope was that by having multiple plants and feeders, I would have multiple hummers feeding at the same time. But since they are very territorial, so far that hasn’t worked. I’ve had up to four come at one time to the patio area, but usually they are dive-bombing and chasing each other.
I have noticed that the males prefer feeding from the salvias rather than the feeders. And they all seem to prefer feeding from the salvias in the early morning when the flowers are still fresh from the cool night air. But after that, they seem to spend their time at the feeders.
Of course, there are other visitors too. At night I have to bring all the feeders inside because somehow the raccoons are able to take down the feeders without breaking them, and drink all the syrup. Then there are the honey and bumble bees who are always waiting for me in the morning as I bring the feeders back out. Having previously been a beekeeper, I really don’t mind the bees. After all, everyone loves a free meal.
Over the course of the summer, the hummers have become more friendly and gradually used to my presence. I went out today to take photos since the morning light was so lovely. While aiming my camera at the salvia, I noticed a dark blur in the lens. When I took the camera down, it was a hummer staring at me with curiosity. So I snapped a few photos. Of course they don’t stay still for even a second, but I got lucky with a few nice shots.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I like to talk to my birds, especially the ones that come near and often. I want them to know my voice and that I won’t hurt them. By next summer I’ll be retired, so I plan on spending a lot more time with them. I’m hoping since I was able to get a chickadee to trust me, that with time, the hummers will too. It’s certainly worth a try and time well spent, for surely sweetness comes in no better form.