by David Salman
Late summer is the time of the year when gardeners here in New Mexico are waiting for our life-giving “monsoon” rains and the return of the hummingbirds. We get about 60 to 70% of our annual precipitation in New Mexico in July, August, and early September. The rains were late to start but have given the state much needed moisture, as late July had been abnormally hot and dry. 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 MX, as well as southern AZ and NM.
The soaking rains have revived our heat and drought stressed gardens, and the natural nectar plants that feed the hummingbirds are in full bloom. I love to plant for the hummingbirds the following: Hummingbird mints (Agastache), Sages (Salvia), Hummingbird Trumpets (Zauschneria), Beardtongue (Penstemon), Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sempervirens cultivars), and Trumpet Vine (Campsis). These are some of our” big names” for flowers that provide natural nectar. 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 ‘Rosita’, ‘Ava’, Agastache 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. 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.Text by David Salman
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