hummer arrival in Red Wing MN

hummer arrival in Red Wing MN

Joined: March 1st, 2006, 9:38 pm

May 5th, 2016, 4:30 am #1

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Donald
Red Wing MN
zone 4
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

May 5th, 2016, 5:07 am #2

Don,

Congratulations on seeing your first hummingbird. We are still hummerless in our yard in Madison, Wisconsin.

I am curious about what perennials for hummingbirds will be in bloom during late August and September or will you rely mostly on feeders then? The only one I can really think of at the moment is Lobelia cardinalis.

In our urban habitat, if we had no annuals (salvias, cuphea, canna indica), we would have no hummingbirds, even with our feeders. You are lucky to live in such an ideal hummingbird habitat.

Enjoy your hummingbird season in your new home Don!!

Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

May 5th, 2016, 12:24 pm #3

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Yes, keep us updated on what you are trying, we want to know.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: May 22nd, 2008, 11:02 am

May 5th, 2016, 1:54 pm #4

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Congrats on the hummer sighting. I KNOW how it is when they take forever to show up! (but yet they show up all around you first!).

And good luck with the new house and garden. Nothing as much fun (for gardeners) as getting a new slate to work on!.
Wilmington, Delaware (USDA Zone 7a)
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Joined: July 22nd, 2009, 5:39 pm

May 5th, 2016, 9:54 pm #5

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
I know what you mean, Don and Kathy, about cutting back on the fussing around with tender plants. I'm trying to streamline too.

I came up with a couple of late-ish blooming perennials/self-seeders that hummingbirds supposedly like for our yard and they may possibly work even further up north in zone 3-4.

1. a late blooming trumpet creeper vine. There are several hybrids, some bloom later in to autumn, some are adaptable to very cold zone 4 winters. Of course these can grow like crazy.
2. asclepias tuberosa blooms later in the fall. Not a plant one thinks of immediately for HBs, but it does have a lot of nectar and our HBs stop by and sip from them. Zone 3-9.
3. spotted jewel weed--this is a woodland native self-seeder around here in Ohio that the hummingbirds really go for during migration time. We have them along our wooded lot line and I always see hummers there. Ours self seed every year and bloom past September. I don't know if the seed is available commercially, but if you have a wooded area 'touch-me-nots' would be a possible addition.
4. the last idea is not a perennial either but it is an abundant self seeder around our garden, and that is verbena bonarienses. Some find this one invasive,and of course it's not native. Sometimes I just throw seed into the space where I want it and it grows with ease there. I save seed heads from year to year. Our hummers like it, as well as the butterflies.

I was trying to think of trees that hummers like that I could plant for easy maintenance. All I can think of right now is the Red Buckeye. I saw one in bloom the other day and it was stunning. Lots of red--one would have to really like red flowers in spring for that one.

Any other thoughts about easy care perennials for HBs??

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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

May 5th, 2016, 10:17 pm #6

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Judy,

This comment reflects the fact that a while back I had a disagreement with those native plant people about using only native plants for hummingbirds---finally, they agreed that a few pots of Salvia coccinea or guaranitica would be acceptable.

Anyhow, that's a nice try, but nothing that you list is really a "top-tier" hummingbird plant. In our yard all of them are done blooming by the end of August, including Jewelweed and Trumpet Creeper (we find the immature birds try and feed from Trumpet Creeper and they can't seem to figure it out.) For us, Butterfly Weed blooms much earlier on in the season. We have Verbena bonariensis reseeding, but I've never seen a hummingbird use it, but the plant is great for butterflies. The only late blooming perennial plant (not native though) that I could come up with is Buddliea (Butterfly Bush) and, again, butterflies love it but it's not really a top-tier hummingbird plant (and is only hardy to zone 5).

Growing different salvias and tropical plants (along with the "standard" ones such as Cuphea 'David Verity' and Salvias guaranitica and coccinea) is what keeps this activity interesting and the hummingbirds visiting.

We live in an urban environment---if we did not grow the best plants (annuals and perennials) and use feeders, we would definitely have few to no hummingbirds, but perhaps your habitat is different from ours.
Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: March 1st, 2006, 9:38 pm

May 6th, 2016, 4:58 am #7

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Kathi:

At my old house four miles away, migration peak was late August with good numbers into the first week of September. Of course, Salvias and other annuals bloom great during the late summer. I will miss them in late summer, but not in the spring when they seem to suck up every minute of my time! Fortunately I did have luck with some perennials and other native annuals/biennials for late summer bloom:

I found that by cutting back Monarda didyma early in the season I can delay bloom and keep it blooming well into August. In my experience it doesn't take a back seat to any plant in the garden when it is in bloom, including the best Salvias. It is too bad it won't continuously bloom into September, but it is a great nectar provider during the first half of the peak for me.

Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) blooms well into August, too.

Lobelia cardinalis bloom here seems well-timed with peak hummer numbers in August, but does peter out as September begins.

Our native annual Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) blooms here in the wild in August, timed well with peak numbers of hummers. It is interesting that Judy's bloom through September. Like many eastern North American hummingbird plants, spotted jewelweed is native to a very large geographic area and it is possible that different populations have different peak bloom times.

Ipomopsis rubra that germinates and blooms for me in the same year will do so late, beginning in August until going until frost (those rosettes that don't bloom but overwinter will bloom earlier the next summer, but at a larger size).

Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) can rebloom very late--I've seen individual blooms as late as December here in Minnesota. There are a number of specimens I've seen here in town that can put on impressive displays well into September. I've read that well-timed pruning will encourage a flush of bloom a certain number of weeks later; I hope to experiment with this.

I am cautiously optimistic about a new perennial for me I tested last year, Silene subciliata. It is a rare plant native to the south central U.S. I was intrigued by a picture of it I came across on the internet:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/karlgercens/10006168663
Note when the photo was taken! I planted one out last summer in the public hummingbird garden I maintain and it had a much later bloom period than Silene regia. It started blooming in late August and peaked in September and kept churning out flowers until frost. I was thrilled this spring to see that it survived the winter with no protection other than a thin mulch of leaves. I had another specimen I kept in a gallon container at the house which survived the winter outdoors unprotected, but is somewhat slow to come back. I managed to collect seed last fall from these plants to wintersow and now I have a dozen or so seedlings to grow out to give the plant a more extensive test in my new garden. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed on this one, and hope the deer aren't as attracted to it as they are to Silene regia.

Other plants I may try that would help at the end of summer include Saliva azurea, which is easy from seed, blooms very late, is native, deer-resistant, and very hardy. It isn't a top tier hummer plant, but large groupings of it may be successful. I also hope eventually to plant a large bed of Mimulus cardinalis, which I've found can be hardy here depending on the seed source. It can bloom continuously until frost.

Of course, there are always feeders to take up the slack!

Although I won't have the variety of plants I used to have in the old garden, I don't think the hummingbirds will mind the lack of variety, and the smaller palette of plants has some advantages. I like the visual impact of very large blocks of a particular species in bloom, and think they may be easier to detect by passing hummingbirds. Large blooming patches of bee balm or a large bed of cardinal flower could hardly escape notice. The beds I have planted so far are each planted with from one to only a few species, but with a lot of individual plants of each type. It is good fortune that most of the early-blooming perennials (columbine, coral bells, Silene virginica) have nice foliage and habit after their early summer bloom period, so they still look nice in the garden for the remainder of the summer. Wintersowing the winter before last enabled me to turn a few packets of saved seed into up to a few hundred seedlings each of cardinal flower, coral bells, Silene regia and S. virginica, and various Aquilegia for nominal cost. Focusing on a limited number of species has enabled me to streamline my seed sowing and seedling care, simplifying my growing efforts. The seedlings are tough and hardy and can survive planting out before frost, or even in the fall, which helps spread out my gardening efforts over more of the gardening season.

This mostly native, mostly perennial garden may or may not end up being as successful as I hope, but either way I see it as a new challenge for me that has simplified things, reduced some of the stress and drudgery, and made gardening fresh and fun for me again.
Donald
Red Wing MN
zone 4
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

May 6th, 2016, 5:47 am #8

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Don,

This plan would not work for us at all, given that our peak of hummingbirds (and our public garden tours) occurs in mid-September. Every plant you list is finished by late August, if not before, in our garden. I planted that rare Silene that you mentioned and it sadly died within a week of planting (and Silene regia blooms in July). We have not been able to get Ipomopsis rubra to bloom here in many years and when it did bloom, it bloomed in early summer. I trialed the concept of delaying bloom on Bee Balm last year and that did not work so well for us.

I certainly don't grow all of our salvias from seed and depend on mail order nurseries to send me many, if not most of our salvias and other tender plants. With everything we have going on, growing everything from seed would be highly impractical for us and we are not Master Gardeners either. If you make the choice to grow everything yourself, I can totally understand why this would be way too much, especially if you no longer have the space inside to do it---we all have our limits---however, I think you could compromise and put together a few pots of annual salvias that you purchase and leave it at that and then you have some kind of a happy medium, but maybe you prefer the challenge of going with all perennials.

We teach people in our program that you must have the greatest number of great hummingbird flowers in full bloom whenever your peak number of hummingbirds occurs) and we are sticking with that concept.

As I said before, you have a totally different kind of habitat there---up there in Red Wing you could increase your number of feeders and probably be fine without the flowers---that would never work for us and people want to come to a garden tour to see plants they have never seen before and hummingbirds using those plants.

Those of us who live in the City of Madison (and others I know who live in other Wisconsin cities) are still waiting to see our first hummingbird of 2016, which says a lot about the many limitations of trying to attract hummingbirds in a city environment.

Don, we certainly wish you the best of luck and look forward to updates on how things are going.


Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

May 6th, 2016, 12:28 pm #9

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
That kind of garden Donald is planning is right in line with what many gardeners do around here. Such gardens are much more common than the oddball kind I grow. I find them beautiful, the hummingbirds like them and they do free up time to do other spring activities like birding or fishing. In my own case I wouldn't know how to grow such large gardens without using plants that perennialize. Living in a much warmer zone opens up possibilities not available to more northern gardeners and our place defines us. Quite simply there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Don, I have been wonder about that Silene too. So far I have resisted the temptation but will be very interested to hear how it does for you.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: October 5th, 2014, 6:34 pm

May 6th, 2016, 12:50 pm #10

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Don,
I'm new to the hummingbird gardening part but gardened for many many years I get it. I drag in so many plants
then drag them into my crawl space...then drag them back out. I wonder how long this ole lady will be able to handle that esp having to be hunched over
I don't have a basement (sub baseent is a living space), no garage so it makes it hard.
I have started only bringing in geranium cuttings and a couple fav mother geraniums but no longer drag all the large pots in. I bring in less and less of plants I know I can handle cuttings for.
Thats why I am experimentig with wintersowing, if I can get them to grow that way Thats even less seeds indoors.. you have done so much over the years Don... I see from all your post...
I to have been adding more perennials and doing lots of research to find more and slowly adding them. The hummers had to use something before we offered our garden delights
Cathy P
Downers Grove, IL
Zone 5
Bazuhi@sbcglobal.net
Visit Me At:
https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ps-Hummingbird-Gardens-885457968170727/
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

May 6th, 2016, 4:35 pm #11

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Obviously, if we were not doing this hummingbird work, I would love to have a garden based on perennials that came back year after year and required very little maintenance (I probably would always have to grow a few pots of annuals though, just for fun and variety). In mid-September plants like lilies, Black-eyed Susan, Echinacea, asters, etc. would all be blooming and it would be beautiful, but I'm afraid we wouldn't have many hummingbirds stopping by in our city location. I have the greatest respect for any gardener who can define their limits and is willing to accept what they can grow naturally and what they can't grow.
Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: March 1st, 2006, 9:38 pm

May 7th, 2016, 4:48 am #12

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Ward: I've thought that Silene subciliata might be a good option for you. It might end up being only marginally hardy here, but it should be bombproof where you live. It likes a lot of sun and is native to sandy well-drained soils, so there you go! Perhaps it didn't work in Kathi's garden because she has heavy soil. I've read that like a number of plants that are native to sandy soils, it seems to respond favorably to enriched garden soils, growing fuller and blooming better than in the wild as long as the soils are well-drained. I tried for years to find a seed source for it to no avail, so I finally sprung last year for a couple of plants mail-ordered from Almost Eden. I figured I could collect my own seed from those plants, and I did! I hope I'll have more seed this year that I'll be able to share if you are interested.

Kathi: If I lived in Madison where the hummingbird peak is in mid-September, and especially if I hosted garden tours in mid-September, I would definitely focus much more on growing annuals that peak late summer to frost, just as you do! The plants you grow are your best choices--your experience makes you the foremost expert on what works best in your garden and region. Even if you could get one or a few perennials to bloom during your peak in September, I agree it wouldn't make for a very interesting garden tour for most visitors. I hope you don't think I was suggesting that everyone should plant all native perennials in their hummingbird garden, especially if they live in the colder growing zones, where the choices are limited. After years of colossal efforts to plant out large beds of exotic annuals started from seed or cuttings at my old garden, I just got burned out and thought I'd try a new approach and take on a new challenge that might also help reduce the work and worry in the springtime when I'd like to be able to spend some time birding and trout fishing. The very best time of the year for those activities coincides with the time of year when my garden beds and pots full of tender plants required my full attention. I'll miss many of my favorite annuals, and suspect that eventually I'll have a bed reserved for not-quite-hardy-enough Salvias that I can protect with the bag-o-leaves and tarp method. I don't feel deprived (yet, anyway) because I think many of the best and most beautiful hummingbird plants happen to be native to the eastern U.S., and at least so far I'm enjoying focusing on them and playing with them in the garden and becoming thoroughly acquainted with how best to propagate and grow them.

Donald

PS--unfortunately, no sightings here since that initial one!
Donald
Red Wing MN
zone 4
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Joined: July 18th, 2009, 3:58 am

May 7th, 2016, 12:34 pm #13

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Congrats on your first sighting, Don. I will miss seeing new photos of the huge and awesome salvia bed at your last house, but I understand it's a lot of work. I am younger than just about every other forum member and I have less plants than many, but even I grow weary of hauling plants in and out of the house and garage, overwintering plants under the light in the basement, keeping everything watered, then getting everything planted.
Dan
East-central Iowa
Zone 5a
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Joined: September 16th, 2005, 12:08 pm

May 8th, 2016, 12:53 pm #14

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
That's awesome Don and congrats on you first arrival of the season.
Penny
Zone 6a
Western NY state
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Joined: May 18th, 2013, 9:33 pm

May 8th, 2016, 4:09 pm #15

Finally! I've been spending a lot of time watching the two feeders I put out at my new house a week ago, but up until today saw visits only by a pair of House Finches. Today after dinner I finally saw a first visit by a hummingbird this year--a male sampled both feeders and briefly perched in a nearby tree before taking off again. No visits later in the evening, so he must have just been passing through.

I've spent a lot of time in the yard getting some new beds planted out with perennials most of which I started from wintersown seed in order to save money (and, it makes for a fun winter project!). I decided at the new house I'm going to focus most of my efforts on perennials for my hummingbird garden, mostly because I don't have a great basement here for maintaining cuttings and starting annuals from seed, but also because in the past I've felt like a slave to my tender plants during the intense spring-early summer season. Although I'll miss many of the tender plants, particularly Salvias, it is nice to not have to worry about babying tender plants and protecting them from frosts and carting plants in and out of the house or garage during the hardening-off process. I've also been able to spread out my planting efforts, because I can start planting the hardy perennials in the ground much earlier in the year (and later--I was able to get a few beds planted out last fall before the ground froze). I still have to worry about deer, but at least I don't have to worry about frost. I imagine once the hard work of getting the perennial beds established is over, I'll add a small bed for some of my favorite annuals, but I'm going to try to rely mostly on perennials supplemented by feeders to provide for the hummers.

Don
Donald

Its great to hear about your first hummer up there in almost Siberian land.

The last couple of years Ive been having trouble getting standing cypress going., this year I have added sand to a certain bed Im trying to grow them and added some inside starts from a few weeks ago, hope they make it. As an added note today those starts look very happy their leaves spread like a canopy even though its raining.

Just had an interesting experience [close encounter if you will] Just stepped out onto my rear stoop, coffee in hand [its a rainy day here] not 2' feed from my feeder and in comes this hummer to the feeder , I dont move, but I notice a second hummer waiting in the wings about 10' away as if its a B-52 waiting to land. This close encounter brought a nice inner smile and a notation that action may be starting to pick up in the area or is it just rain forcing more hummers into the feeders. Either way its been a pleasant morning in spite of the rain.
Steve W.
Martinsville IN.
Zone 6
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