I’ve been wanting to share a particular tale from the garden with you for several weeks now, but I’ve been waiting to get that perfect photo to accompany my tale first. At this point in the season, I realize . . . it ain’t gonna happen. So here goes: A tale from the garden that begins with a really bad photo.
If you follow the curvy arrow in the photo above, you’ll see a hummingbird (you may need to squint . . . ). (Trust me, this is the best photo I’ve got — and I’ve been taking blurry hummingbird photos for weeks now.)
I sit on my patio with Tom (okay, and a glass of wine) every evening before dinner . . . and we watch the hummingbirds swarm in the garden. It’s just magical! The little birds flit about in the garden at all hours of the day, but they put on their best show in the late afternoon/early evening.
We don’t have a hummingbird feeder.
We just have flowers.
And, in particular, we have these flowers . . .
They’re called Black and Blue Salvia. They’re annuals in my corner of the universe. And . . . they are absolute hummingbird magnets!
I’d first heard about Black and Blue Salvia from a gardening friend several years ago, and I always meant to try them in my containers . . . but I had a hard time finding them at my local gardening haunts. Until last year. I tried a couple of plants in my patio containers — and suddenly, they were attracting hummingbirds like crazy!
This year, I decided to significantly expand my efforts with Black and Blue Salvia. In early May I picked up an entire flat of the plants at my favorite local nursery. (I’ve learned the tricks — you need to find them early in the season, and you need to buy what you need when you find them. They sell out quickly.) I put a few of the plants in my pots, but I planted most of them in little clumps here and there in my perennial gardens, all within easy view of our patio.
They bloom all summer long, and they mesh in with my perennials quite well. I’ve tried lots of other (alleged) hummingbird-attracting plants (most of them with red blooms), but nothing has ever worked as . . . magnetically . . . as these Black and Blue Salvia.
They are a most magical plant. And they attract the most magical little birds!
(Seriously. I think I’ll buy TWO flats next May . . .)
Thanks for sharing your hummingbird magnet trick! I can see the hummingbird quite well in the photo and think I might try some black and blue salvia in my garden. I’ve tried feeders in different locations and plenty of red flowers, but I just don’t seem to attract any hummingbirds. Maybe the black and blue salvia will do it, and if not, I’ll still have lovely flowers!
Hummingbirds, the best entertainment in town.
Beautiful and I just shared with Fletch. We, too, sit out every afternoon before dinner on our patio (me with wine…Fletch with coffee) and watch the bird activity. We do have hummingbirds coming around (we do have two feeders). They love our trumpet vine flowers and (surprisingly to me) our white Rose of Sharon blooms. They also enjoy yellow Iris! But…I’m making a note to look for Black and Blue Salvia next year.
Beautiful and I’ve shared with Fletch. We will look for Black and Blue Salvia next year. We, too, sit on our patio before dinner (me with wine…Fletch with coffee) and watch all the bird activity. Our hummers like the trumpet vine blooms and also (which surprises me) the white flowers of our Rose of Sharon and our Gooseneck. I will say that Mabel enjoys the hummers too…thankfully she is not fast enough!
Sorry for 2 comments…I didn’t think the first one “took.”
I’ve planted black and blue salvia in containers but never in with my perennials – what a great idea! Our hummingbirds are VERY active right now (which I know, sadly, means they will be departing soon) and yesterday I saw one on my zinnias – that has never happened before! We do have a feeder and they are at that frequently but they also enjoy the butterfly bush and tall phlox.
Oh I hope I remember this next spring!
I can see it! I have only seen a hummingbird in person a handful of times, and they’re really magical, so I can well understand how much fun it must be to sit there and watch a whole bunch of them.
I planted those one or two years but have never found them since… they are such hummingbird magnets… and the bees love them too! I occasionally see them on my rose bushes, but gosh… they love the butterfly bush! But this makes me contemplate how hard it might be to start Black and Blue Salvia from seed?
I’ve never heard of those salvia before but you can believe that I’ll be heading to the internet and see if they can be started from seed. I’ve never seen them at any of the local garden centers. I have a rare hummingbird at the columbines in springtime but not so much any other time of the summer. What fun you must be having getting to watch them!!
Ooh, black and blue salvia! Next year they may populate my deck planters. Re: hummingbirds and late afternoon feeding. I have been wanting to capture a photo of 6 or 8 (or 10) hummingbirds swarming our hanging feeder. I tried earlier today unsuccessfully, and Smoke told me I might have better luck later in the day. So twice in one day I heard/read this advice — must be right!
I’ve never heard of black and blue salvia but I’m putting a note in my garden journal for next year. Around her hummingbirds migrate through so they wouldn’t stay around. Now and then I see a few. Nevertheless, I like the bright color of the flower. I hope to put in another small flower/pollinator garden next spring so I’m going to see if the nurseries around here stock the plant.
Planting the salvia throughout your garden was inspired!! Watching them feed in the afternoon would bring so much joy to the day. Your garden must be really exquisite this time of year.
I’ll have to keep an eye out for that next spring! We have more hummingbirds at the cottage than we do at our house…but more flowers at our house and mostly foliage at the cottage. So I hang a hummingbird feeder there. But I’m thinking a pot of annuals would be more enjoyable for all of us–and I wouldn’t have to change and clean that feeder every week!
Beautiful garden, Kym. Enjoy!