The Hummingbirds Are Back: David Salman’s Hummingbird Garden
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.
Plants In David's Hummingbird Garden In Santa Fe, NM
I’ve been especially enamored with the Sages and Hummingbird Mints for many decades, so my gardens are over-flowering with as many of them as I can fit into my beds. Some of my favorite Agastache include A. cana ‘Rosita', ‘Ava', A. rupestris (Grant Co., NM collection), A. rupestris ‘Glowing Embers', and the hybrid, 'Blue Blazes'. 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 Mountains of West TX, Salvia reptans.
Blooming In Early To Mid-Spring
- Beardtongue (Penstemon superbus and P. eatonii)
- Cacti (Echinocereus coccineus and E. triglochidiatus)
- Currant (Ribes odoratum ‘Crandall’ and Ribes sanguineum ‘Claremont’)
Blooming In Late Spring
- Beardtongue (Penstemon pseudospectabilis as well as other Penstemon species and cultivars)
- Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis ‘Paradise’, ‘Lucretia Hamilton', ‘Hope’, FlowerKisser™ Everpink)
- Columbine (Aquilegia Swallowtail® and other species and cultivars)
- Coral Bells (Heuchera x bryzoides ‘Weston Pink’ as well as other species and cultivars)
- Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ and other cultivars)
- Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’, Salvia dorrii, Raspberry Delight®, and FlowerKisser™ Sages - Royal Rose, Dark Shadows)
- Texas Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Coral Glow’, ‘Straight Up Red’, ‘Yellow’ and FlowerKisser™ Weeping Pink’
Blooming In Summer
- Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa and other Asclepias species and cultivars)
- Hummingbird Mint (Agastache cana, A. rupestris. A. x ‘Blue Boa’ and other species/cultivars)
- Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria garrettii Orange Carpet®)
- Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus species and cultivars)
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea cultivars, other Echinacea species and cultivars)
- Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia cultivars and species)
- Sage (Salvia darcyi, Salvia pachyphylla ‘Mulberry Flambe’, Salvia x ‘Ultra Violet’)
Blooming In Early Fall
- Hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
- Hummingbird Mint (Agastache x ‘Fall Fiesta’)
- Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria canum var. arizonica ‘Sky Island Orange’, other cultivars and species)
- Sage - 'Cold Hardy Pink', Salvia x ‘Marischino’, Salvia reptans ‘Autumn Sapphire’, Salvia azurea)
David's Hummingbird Garden Tips
- Hummingbirds prefer "natural nectar" from flowers over sugar water from a feeder (it's like a person choosing between a glass of natural fruit nectar or a Pepsi).
- If there are enough flowers in the garden to support them, the feeder is often ignored. My little Rufous Hummingbird (the most "terrier-like" hummingbird species of the garden) oversees all of the beds in my front yard.
- Spread out the plants over a wide area so that all the hummingbirds can fan out across the garden to feed, and the Rufous hummingbird can't keep chasing the other birds from the garden.
- Position plants so that they are not all visible from one spot. Plant around corners, behind shrubs, and on all sides of the house.
- I’m thrilled to see so many of our customers posting their hummingbird photos on our High Country Gardens Facebook and Instagram.
- Share your photos and let us know your favorite hummingbird plants as well. We love seeing plant photos and appreciate learning about other plants that supply our beloved hummingbirds with natural nectar.
Additional Resources For Hummingbirds
- Discover the essential elements for a hummingbird garden: Make Your Yard A Hummingbird Magnet
- Learn more about Hummingbird Migration: How Gardeners Can Support The Journey South
- Working To Protect A Jewel Of The Americas: An interview with the late Ross Hawkins, founder of The Hummingbird Society.
- High Country Gardens is proud to have been one of the original sponsors of The Hummingbird Society. To learn more about how to keep hummingbirds buzzing in your garden all season long, visit The Hummingbird Society.
The Legacy of David Salman | High Country Gardens founder David Salman was a pioneer of waterwise gardening, a passionate plant explorer, and a charismatic storyteller. His commitment to cultivating a palette of beautiful waterwise plants transformed gardening in the American West.
Shop David Salman's Hummingbird Garden Plant List
24-36„ tall x 15„ wide. The Richfield form of Eaton‚s Beardtongue was selected for its overall vigor and flower production. It blooms in early to mid-spring bloomin...Learn MoreFirecracker Penstemon Richfield Strain Richfield Strain Firecracker Beardtongue Penstemon eatonii Richfield StrainAs low as $11.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
4-6‚ tall x 4-6‚ wide. ‚Crandall‚ currant is a fast-growing heirloom fruiting shrub with fragrant bright-yellow mid-spring flowers followed by large edible bl...Learn MoreCrandall's Clove Scented Currant (Ribes) Crandall's Clove Scented Currant Ribes odoratum CrandallAs low as $13.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Exclusive. Coconino County desert beardtongue is an incredible bloomer with numerous spikes of intensely deep pink tubular flowers in late spring. A willing re-seeder, it spreads ge...Learn MoreCoconino County Desert Penstemon Coconino County Desert Beardtongue Penstemon pseudospectabilis Coconino CountyAs low as $11.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Exclusive. Swallowtail is unique with large, long-spurred flowers with bright-yellow center petals and softer yellow outer petals, held over attractive blue-green foliage. Late sprin...Learn MoreSwallowtail® Columbine Swallowtail ® Columbine Aquilegia speciesAs low as $13.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Lonicera sempervirens ‚Major Wheeler‚ (Honeysuckle Vine) is a non-stop bloomer coloring the garden from late spring through the summer with showy clusters of orange-red f...Learn MoreMajor Wheeler Honeysuckle Vine Major Wheeler Honeysuckle Vine Lonicera sempervirens Major Wheeler$14.99 Sale $13.49Sale Price I Save 10%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Exclusive. Raspberry Delight® is an outstanding native Salvia hybrid with a summer-long display of stunning raspberry-red flowers and excellent cold hardiness (once established)....Learn MoreRaspberry Delight® Salvia Raspberry Delight® Hybrid Bush Sage Salvia Raspberry Delight®$11.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
This new cultivar of Texas Yucca blooms all summer with six-foot tall spikes of glowing coral-orange flowers. A cross between a yellow and red flowered variety, Hesperaloe parviflora...Learn MoreCoral Glow Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe) Coral Glow Texas Yucca Hesperaloe parviflora Coral Glow PP#29,626As low as $12.74Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Hesperaloe parviflora ‚FlowerKisser® Weeping Pink WWG07‚ (Texas Yucca) is a beautiful, eye-catching form of Hesperaloe, or Texas Yucca, with bright pink flowers held on ...Learn MoreFlowerKisser® Weeping Pink Texas Yucca (Hesperaloe) 'FlowerKisser® Weeping Pink' Texas Yucca Hesperaloe x 'WWG07'$15.99 Sale $13.59Sale Price I Save 15%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Agastache rupestris (Licorice Mint Hyssop) is one of the best, most durable species in the Agastache family. With smoky orange flowers held by lavender calyxes, the entire plant is s...Learn MoreAgastache rupestris Licorice Hummingbird Mint (Sunset Hyssop) Agastache rupestrisAs low as $13.99Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Exclusive. Salvia Ultra Violet is a great new cold-hardy Salvia greggii hybrid with showy violet-pink colored flowers. This Sage selection has demonstrated exceptional cold hardiness...Learn MoreUltra Violet Salvia Ultra Violet Hybrid Sage Salvia Ultra Violet PP#21,411$12.99 Sale $11.69Sale Price I Save 10%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Hardy Plumbago) a remarkable groundcover. It is an exceptional choice for shady areas, especially under trees and shrubs. It also grows in part and full ...Learn MoreHardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma) Hardy Plumbago, Leadwort Ceratostigma plumbaginoidesAs low as $8.99Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
Additional Resources From High Country Gardens
Make Your Yard A Hummingbird Magnet
Support Hummingbird Migration In Your Garden
Planting For Hummingbirds