By David Salman, High Country Gardens Founder
In spring, hummingbirds start to make their appearance in my gardens. At first, it is one bird, and then there are 3 or 4 hanging out, sipping, fussing, and moving deliberately from flower to flower on their favorite perennials. Being an avid hummingbird gardener, my garden is bursting with "natural nectar." By choosing summer and early-fall blooming plants, my garden will provide hummingbirds with a continuous supply of nectar well into fall as they migrate southward.
Late summer is the time of the year when gardeners here in New Mexico, Arizona, and west Texas are waiting for our life-giving monsoon-like rains and the return of the hummingbirds. The soaking rains revive our heat and drought-stressed gardens, and the natural nectar plants that feed the hummingbirds will be in full bloom. We get about 60-70% of our annual precipitation in New Mexico in July, August, and early September.
The return of the rain is very good news for the hummingbirds as well. The hummingbird population in Santa Fe is transitory, with the numbers of these tiny birds peaking in early September as they move their way south to their winter grounds in Mexico, as well as southern Arizona and New Mexico. In other parts of the country, hummingbird migrations will vary in their timing and their preferred “natural nectar’ flowers will vary as well.