Late summer is a time of the year for gardeners here in New Mexico when we are waiting for our life giving “monsoon” rains and the return of the hummingbirds. We get about 60 to 70% of our annual precipitation here in New Mexico in July, August and early September. The rains were late to start but have given the state much needed moisture as through late July it had been abnormally hot and very dry! The return of these rains are very good news for the hummingbirds as well.
The soaking rains have revived our heat and drought stressed gardens and the natural nectar plants that feed the hummingbird are in full bloom. I love to plant for the hummingbirds. Hummingbird mints (Agastache), Sages (Salvia),
Hummingbird Trumpets (Zauschneria), Beardtongue (Penstemon), Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sempervirens cultivars) and Trumpet Vine (Campsis) are some of our” big names” for flowers that provide natural nectar. I’ve been especially enamored with the Sages and Hummingbirds Mints for many decades so my gardens are over-flowering with as many of them as I can fit into my beds.
The hummingbird population here in Santa Fe are transitory with the numbers of
these tiny birds peaking in early September as they move their way south to their winter grounds in MX and southern AZ, NM.
Some of my favorite Agastache include ‘Rosita’, ‘Ava’, Agastache rupestris (Grant Co., NM collection), an unreleased form of A. rupestris, ‘Glowing Embers’ and a new hybrid for 2011, ‘Blue Blazes’ (that’s in its second growing season in my test beds and home garden). My favorite Sages include various Salvia greggii
cultivars and hybrids including ‘Raspberry Delight’, ‘Furman’s Red’, ‘Ultra Violet’, ‘Maraschino’ and a fabulous and very tough native from the Davis Mts. of West TX, Salvia reptans. For vine lovers, try Campsis radicans ‘Flava’ a gorgeous butterscotch yellow variety of the species.
I’m thrilled to see so many of our HCG Facebook fans posting their hummingbird photos. Let us know you favorite hummingbird plants as well. We love seeing plant photos and appreciate learning about other plants that supply our beloved “hummers” with natural nectar.