A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm definitely growing this one again!

I decided to try a hummingbird feeder again this year. My past attempts at attracting hummingbirds have been spectacular failures. Loads of ants. No hummingbirds. After reading a book on attracting hummingbirds (see sidebar), I thought I would give it another try. This time, instead of just a feeder, I planted lots of red flowers. Some were more successful than others. The Fire King yarrow were more pink than red. The Jacob Cline monarda was red, but the flowers were spindly. Perhaps it just needs more time and more light. The Empress of India nasturtiums bloomed very, very briefly. The Texas Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea) was very satisfying. Beautiful red flowers. I'll be growing that again next year.

By far the very, very best of the lot were the zinnias. Most seed companies carry red zinnias but the book recommended Scarlet King zinnias. I found them in the Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog. Take a look:

The tallest ones are over 4' (1.2 meters) tall. The flowers are 4" (10 centimeters) across. And boy are they SCARLET! As you can see from the picture (taken today) they are the exact same color as the feeder. They survived extreme neglect. Because of my busy schedule this summer (gardening in three different towns), I did very little watering and virtually no weeding. They grew and bloomed in spite of me.

If you are looking for a great flower for a hummingbird garden and/or you are a zinnia lover like myself, I highly recommend these. I'll be planting LOTS more next year.


At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I wish we had hummingbirds in Europe ....
Thank you for the message you left on my blog. I can't seem to contact you by E-mail, so I've left a reply there. Have a look when you have a moment.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Your red Hummingbird sage/Salvia Coccinnea is a lavish reseeder down here. It might reappear in the garden without any effort on your part.


At 4:42 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Sue, have you tried my email OldRosesBlog@yahoo.com? I've added your blog to Garden Voices. So glad you are joining us!

Annie, I LOVE plants that reseed! I'll keep my fingers crossed. And while we're on the subject, why haven't you joined us on Garden Voices?

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I did have to look twice to see your feeder. I am keeping this zinnia in mind as I make a seed list for next year. Maybe I'll get some more hummingbirds. (And, I did not know that they don't have hummingbird in Europe!)

At 3:56 PM, Blogger snappy said...

Will be on my wishlist Oldroses.How are your roses doing?are yours still blooming like mine?the colour of the zinnia is great, showy red!

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Debra said...

Great plant to highlight!! Did it help with drawing hummers?

A couple hints: I use a flat, low feeder instead of the tall narrow ones. The hummers seem to like it. I make my own nectar with the standard 1/4C of sugar to 1C of water and keep it filled.

Now for the ants: find a safe place along the hanger and complete paint a line of that "sticky trap" stuff on it. The ants cannot crawl over that line. (it helps with ants/aphids of trees and such, too).

At 1:32 AM, Blogger gardenmomma said...

Hi there!
My hummers love my plain old trumpet vine. I have a massive bush with many seed pods. I'm waiting for them to ripen. I'd be happy to send you some seeds if you'd like them! Chris

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Thank you for asking, Old Roses - that's a compliment, and Garden Voices is a fine place to visit. I don't know much about how it works, because none of the other Austin bloggers are on it. Perhaps I'd better muddle along on my own for the time being, partly because my blog may encompass some very non-gardening areas in future.

Good luck with the reseeding salvias!

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Judith said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Scarlet King zinnias! They sure look like a true red. I will want to try those out next time around. I love zinnias. Did you buy plants of Texas Hummingbird Sage, or did you plant seeds? That one does sound lovely, too.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Kasmira said...

I saw hummingbirds at my zinnias too! I'm not sure what color flower I saw them sipping from. I had orange-red and pink zinnias. I love the scarlet color in your photo.


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