Friday, May 20, 2011

Hummingbird, Come Back

For some reason, the hummingbirds seemed to abandon the feeder. I expect the female to not come as often because of nesting but the two males were also missing.  First, I made sure the feeder was clean and had fresh nectar with a higher percentage than the 4 to 1 sugar mix I usually use.  They soon returned.

I went to Lowes looking for plants that hummingbirds might find attractive and noticed Primula vialii.  Common names for this plant are Chinese pagoda primrose, orchid primrose, and poker primrose. These flowers, a red cone of calyxes from which orchid funnel flowers bloom from the bottom up, last for many weeks beginning in late spring. The 1' to 2' plant prefers a partly shady location with perhaps early morning or late afternoon sun provided it is kept moist. Originating in the mountains of Yunnan province in China, it is hardy to - 31 °F.  It does well as far as heat is concerned to USDA Zone 8b.  An ideal location for this plant in your garden would be at pond edge, around fountains, or even downspouts where the soil is always moist.

Since we are having cool wet weather at present, I can enjoy Primula vialii on the deck in a container in dappled shade. When the temperature soars, it will be relocated to the garden.

I thought the Gerbera jamesonii 'Jaguar' red was the perfect hummingbird color. If you have observed hummingbirds for long, you realize they will feed from any color.  They will probe each and every orifice.

It is reported their favorite color is red, however.  Gerber daisies flourish when the temperature is in the 70s F. 

Of course, in a few days when the sun shines, the temperature will zoom back into the 80s.  The red verbena I bought will be happy in the sunny spot I have chosen. Verbena's cascades of umbels will also make great landing pads for butterflies.

Now, no matter what our erractic weather conditions, I have a tempting offering for the hummingbirds advertising the feeder.