Hummingbird Garden 2.0
I’m pleased to report that my second try at a Hummingbird Garden was more successful than my first attempt. I still did not attract any hummingbirds but the flowers looked much better.
What worked: Scarlet King Zinnias, Texas Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea) and Jacob Cline monarda. What didn’t work: Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans), Black Prince snapdragons and Empress of India nasturtiums.
The Pineapple sage grew wonderfully but never bloomed. The nasturtiums were more foliage than flowers and the snapdragons were just very disappointing. They never got very tall and the flowers were inconsequential.
The zinnias are magnificent. The plants are tall. The flowers are bright scarlet and HUGE. I just love them. The monarda is coming along. It was still gangly but it has begun forming nice clumps. I hope within a year or two, it will be as striking as the zinnias.
I have a love/hate relationship with the hummingbird sage. This is the second year that I’ve grown it and I went through the same emotional ups and downs as last year. Initially, I am happy with it because it germinates readily and prolifically from seed. Throughout the summer months, I am less happy with it because it grows slowly and is all foliage. By August, I am questioning whether I will grow it again as the first, spindly flowers start to appear. But once it gets going, I fall in love with it (again). I made sure to take lots of pictures of it to remind myself in the future why I grow this one every year.
One big difference this year is the nectar I am using. The red dye in the commercial preparations is not good for the hummingbirds. I consulted my copy of Attracting Butterflies & Hummingbirds to Your Backyard for a recipe for homemade nectar. It is ridiculously easy to make. I boil a cup of water in my microwave, add 1/3 cup of sugar, allow it to cool and then pour it into the feeder. I clean the feeder while the nectar is cooling.
I will be studying my book over the winter as I make out my seed orders for the spring. I have wild columbine that blooms in the spring and attracts hummingbirds. The zinnias and hummingbird sage bloom in the late summer. I am in search of flowers that bloom in early to mid-summer to fill in the gap.