April 12, 2009

First Hummingbird in the Garden!

Today, I saw our first hummingbird of 2009! Last year, I recorded the first one on April 9 here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Our visitors are Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

We took down our birdseed feeders and replaced them with hummingbird feeders several weeks ago. Last week, I created a hanging basket of annual begonia and fuschia for a natural hanging feeder, too. Beneath the hanging basket is a planter filled with impatiens.

When I shop for plants, I try to keep these tiny little birds in mind. They love the cobalt blue salvia guaranitica 'Black & Blue' along with other salvia varieties such as red salvia greggii. The tall blooms of 'Black & Blue' make it easy for the hummingbirds to skim across the garden from flower to flower.

My garden is filled with monarda (bee balm) which is another hummingbird favorite. I added the red 'Jacob Cline' last fall and it has rapidly expanded in the moist area in the butterfly garden. 'Raspberry Wine' was added in the cottage garden and front outer gardens. I've had 'Blue Stocking' for several years and it is a purple-blue color that works well with other color combinations. Monarda needs room to expand quickly. Buying a few plants will give you as much of a color as you want and it is deer and rabbit resistant.

Agastache, buddleia and nepeta are other perennials that the hummingbirds visit in my garden. I tend to select deer resistant plants for the outer gardens. There are so many other nectar flowers that can be used for hummingbirds that plant retail nurseries often have lists available. Besides flower nectar, hummingbirds catch insects, too!

Hummingbirds are great little visitors for a garden, so please keep them in mind when planting gardens and containers this year.

Story and photo by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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