Tag Archives: garden with hummingbirds

Summer 2014

The weather forecast is 4 C for Saturday. Was the summer here for real? I spent most of my time in the garden,  working around my flower beds or simply watching the hummingbirds, or any other birds, insects and butterflies. Trying to copy all of the summer’s garden  life into my memory to have it back during the winter days.

The hummingbirds are still here, this summer I had three adult males from May until late July and the last one left mid August. Little gorgeous birds, they made my days better.

 

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New Year and old pictures

Forget the frigid temperatures, the ice rain or the snowfall… it must be something – somewhere to warm up our spirit. I am ready for a new gardening season, until then…. lots of pictures to watch and smile.

Happy New Year! may the Spring come soon!

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Cuphea for hummingbirds

There is no secret the tubular flowers are mostly liked by hummingbirds. The shape of the flower is just perfect for the long bill and the nectar can be reached easily. Also, so many flowers count on hummingbirds for pollination.  Cuphea’s flowers are so beautiful and so much liked by hummingbirds.

pagecupheaI have three Cupheas in my hummingbird garden. I like all of them and I sit nearby with my camera ready to catch the magical hummingbird dance hovering around the flowers.

This one is Mexican Cigar or Cuphea ignea and probably the hybrid named David Verity (c.ignea x c.micropetala). The small tubular flowers in red-orange color are tipped with a thin withe-silver rim and two very tiny purple petals that suggest a lit cigar.

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It is an annual flower for my zone 5, and winter hardy for zones 10-12. Awesome flower, easy to grow from seeds, plant in full sun, moderate water. It will tolerate some drought but it will do the best with regular watering.

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I was so happy to found them at the nursery and I’ve got three nicely grown plants almost ready to bloom. However, I have started a few from seeds and I planted them in a flower bed out in the garden. I may say that the ones in pots didn’t grow so tall and bushy like the ones in the ground.

To make the plant bushier pinch the stems as needed to maintain a good shape. They can grow as tall as 30″ or more in warmer areas.

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This is one hummingbird enjoying the Mexican Cigar and for sure it’s a good hummingbird flower, from how much visited it was.

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Cuphea Ilavea, another magnet for hummers, in two shapes: one looks like Batface and the other one with smaller petals I would call Mouseface, because I didn’t get the name tag when I purchased it. Anyhow, doesn’t matter, for the beauty and joy it gives away, for me and the hummingbirds.

The flowers are obviously different, the same tubular shape but the petals are bigger and bright red with a purple center . They need the same sunny area and water with moderation.  Hummingbirds are so happy around them and some of them were guarding the area very carefully.

DSCN1562Can you see the one hummingbird there?

DSCN7041Cuphea can become a little bit leggy so pinch the stems to keep them in good shape.

DSCN3333I planted the in a sunny place together with a few annual Salvias and they made a great playground for the hummingbirds.

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The other Cuphea Ilavea might be a Batface hybrid and from the look of the flower it really look line one batface 🙂 The petals are visible larger than the other one. I noticed they they self-seed and the seeds were very well alive after the cold winters in Ontario. I have plants from the seeds I saved in fall. I have this plant in my garden for two summers already.

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This bumble bee is too big for such a small flower… is this a hug???

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Plant Cuphea where ever you want a nice and bright color all summer.  Plant a mass of plants near a window or the patio where you can enjoy the hordes of butterflies and hummingbirds sipping the reach nectar. of these beautiful flowers.

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How pretty am I???

Watching the hummingbirds is always amazing.  I spend lots of time waiting for the big -wonderful shot, and I always have my camera ready. But these little birds are so very fast, and my camera clicks a second late almost every time.  I didn’t get “THE” picture, but some of them are really funny.  Browsing through the summer’s photos brings me back to the sunny days.

They come back at the feeder almost every 15 minutes; some of them fly back very quickly, others are taking time for resting and guarding.  Perching at the feeder is not very often,  but they will fly somewhere close and watch the feeders from any intruders.

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A good and healthy meal: catching small flying insects will provide the protein needed. Look at that tongue! good for sipping the nectar and fly-catching as well.

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Preening, scratching and stretching…

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A nap after a good meal? I don’t know if they really nap, but those eyes are closed for sure 🙂

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My last thought: aren’t they so pretty??? The delicate body shape, those dark eyes with a small white spot in the corner of the eye.  And the shiny emerald like green… totally addictive.

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Who is she?

Remember Fuzzy,  the friendly hummingbird from last summer? She liked to perch on top of a tomato stick support. From there she could guard the garden and protect it as her territory.  This year, a hummingbird as “fluffy” as Fuzzy was, perches on the same stick, and behave like my dear Fuzzy. Is it possible? Is Fuzzy back???

Look at these pictures, this one is Fuzzy, October 2012. The red area is the feeder I had in my hand… she let me fed her 🙂

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This picture is from a few days ago, not the same position, but… looks familiar.

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Fuzzy last year, below:

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And this year…is it Fuzzy? or not?

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First row is Fuzzy, last year. Second row is my girl this year. She is not shy, she likes the flowers and the feeders and she comes  so close to us… no fear.

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Whoever is she, is a beauty!  I can see her  almost every time, around the flowers or in the trees or on top of the bamboo cane.  Hopefully more pictures to come!

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

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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It was June

My secret wish is to have more hummingbirds than the last summer.  This is why my garden becomes the host of more and more flowers.  It was only June and my hopes were so high… The two males were accompanied by 2 other females. Dancing in the air and hovering around the garden, they gave me the beautiful show I was expecting: the mating dance,  U shape flights and fights to defend the territory.  At this time I wasn’t yet able to say if they were new or they have been already in my garden.  I’ve  had 4 tubular feeders, and two other from hummzinger.  It wasn’t too much activity, or at least not as much I was expecting, and for sure less than the previous summer.  Anyways, I was happy with my little hummers coming  every day.  However, I prefered more to watch and less taking pictures. DSCN0179 DSCN0178 DSCN0282 DSCN0281 DSCN0280 DSCN0185 DSCN0180-tile DSCN0180