Tag Archives: anise sage hummingbirds

Surprising Shrimp plant

After a long waiting, with only to males as rare visitors of my garden;  finally the action began.  For two weeks now, one juvenile male and two females are the most precious residents of the garden. They hover over the flowers, the youngest are so curious and they are testing each one. They love  Agastache, Bee Balm,  Zinnia, Weigela, Penstemons and more others. This year I extended my hummingbird flower collection, with new Agastaches and Salvias, Mina Lobata, Major Wheeler Honeysuckle, Cobaea,  Cuphea Ignea.

But the surprise came from the two braided Shrimp plants (Justicia brandegeana). They just love it, and they pick every flower again and again. It’s just wonderful to watch them.

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Salvia Black&Blue

The third year of gardening revealed me the truth: I am gardening for hummingbirds. Whatever flowers I like, it “happens” to be a hummingbird flower. I have very few flowers just for my pleasure,  and I keep adding more and more hummingbird flowers. The thing is that I’ve learned about flowers I would never thought they can be so beautiful. Who cares about “salvia”? I only knew about the culinary salvia or the medicinal salvia. I was wondering what is so remarcable about this flower? Oh, well… I wish I can fill my whole garden with all the flowering salvias. The hummingbirds taught me about flowers, they showed me more beatiful species and it is a delight just watching both, the flowers and the birds.

About Savia Black&Blue I have learned  from my daily reading of the Hummingbird forum ( http://www.network54.com).  It took me  two seasons  to find this  Slavia.  I  found it at Belgium Nursery in Kitchener.  And it worth it: a realy stunning flower! Leaves, stems and flowers make a very attractive plant.

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This is Salvia guaranitica Black&Blue, also known as Blue Anise Sage. Isn’t she beautiful? The name comes from the deep blue flowers and the dark purple (almost black) calyces.

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In our Ontario zone is an annual plant and must be dug up in fall. It is a perennial semi-woody subshrub for USDA zones 8- 11. It grows up to 3 ft (0.9m) tall and almost as much wide, branches of dark green stems. The leaves are long on oposites sides of the stems, slightly toothed. If crushed, the leaves have a pleasant fragrance.

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Blue anise is a bloomer, it will give you the best show throughout the summer. They like sun, and moderate water, being a drought resistant plant. And the hummingbirds… they love it! I  have lots of flowers in my garden but this one was the most visited and the most wanted flower. This is  Alba ( white) a hummingbirds with a white spot on its crown. I’ve had such a great time watching her ( I believe it’s a her) for a few weeks.

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This  is a young male, you can see the one red spot on his gorget.  I planted one Salvia in a planter and the other three in a flower bed. My little friend took over this  planter and here he is getting some nectar from one flower.

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The flowers are tubular, with a hood like upper lips and a shorter downward pointing lower lip. Look at the size of this flower: it is bigger than the hummingbird’s head… or maybe is he too small?

DSCN3391Here are a few  more captures during the 2012 summer:

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In fall I dug up the plants after the foliage died. I found the roots look more as a tuber and I put them in a flower pot covered with soil, and I placed them in the garage.

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When I checked them sometime in December, I  was surprised to see that new sprouts showed up and I brought the plant inside, in the basement. Not too cold, not too warm ( 20 C) and I watered once in a while. Well, they had new leaves,  stems and new shoots. Even more, last month one stem got a few small blooms.  The one I left in the garage, and bring it in only late in March, it does not  look alive  anymore. Just dried stems. So, I’ve learned that they really need a medium temperature to stay alive over the winter, and must be watered just a bit, from time to time.

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The winter is playing tricks with us and the spring is hiding somewhere… can’t wait to go out and get ready for a new gardening season. And most of all the hummingbirds arrival.  I also have new plans for the next Salvia Black&Blue flower bed, and for more Salvias.

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