Mimulus cardinalis, or scarlet monkey flower is a hummingbird favorite. My plant has more orange than scarlet flowers, which I love.
To think I started off with only a few shoots growing in a gallon nursery pot of phlox. I ditched the phlox and kept the Mimulus. It went into my Acer griseum bed and grew rampantly in the loose, rich soil, spreading like wildfire and growing over 5 feet tall. Since I removed everything but the paperbark maple and two osmanthus from that bed, the hummingbirds have only two much smaller clumps to fight over. This monkey flower is much better-behaved in the clay soil between the back patio and the dry creek bed.
Two of the Kniphofia were moved from in front of the house to the south end of the house to save them from the remodeling. They really seem to appreciate the move. These plants have never bloomed very well until this year and I had thought they were duds. I purchased these as a 4-pack from my college horticulture club sale one year. They are a seed strain, thus the variation in color (I may still have the tag somewhere...). I'll have to move the other two clumps to join these two so I can see what color they are.
In addition to being hummingbird magnets, the bees also seem to love these flowers. It's kind of funny watching the birds and the bees fighting over this red-hot poker. (There's a dirty joke in there somewhere, but I'll abstain).
Probably the top choice of hummingbirds in my garden every year is Crocosmia 'Lucifer'. Like the monkey flower, 'Lucifer' is greatly reduced this year after the three huge clumps were downsized to prevent them from overtaking the entire bed they grow in.
'Lucifer' is one of those vibrant, intense reds that cameras, including mine, have difficulty capturing accurately. These photos make the flowers appear more orange than they are in real life, at least on my computer screen. I love the color and the way the flowers are held on the stem. I need more crocosmia in the garden, but I just don't have places ready for them. That might be a good thing, as I've been drooling over the selection of crocosmia at Far Reaches Farm and could easily break the bank. I'm not advertising for Far Reaches, I just think they have a good selection of crocosmia.
Planted around Thanksgiving last year as a few very sad little bits of rooted stem, this Lobelia laxiflora var. angustifolia really surprised me by even surviving the winter, let alone producing flower buds. I'm sure the hummingbirds will appreciate these once they open. Until then, I have a much classier alternative to the pink lawn flamingo.
Another surprise. Remember how I said that there was only one kind of daylily in the garden? That's what I was told anyway. Except that in one location the plants are short with fine, upright leaves and in the other they have long, wide, arching leaves. I assumed the difference in the leaves was due to the conditions of the two areas they were growing in. I was gone when my parents added daylilies to the garden and so I had no idea until I came home this year what they even looked like. Given what I was told, I assumed the rich soil in one of the beds made the plants grow too lushly and decreased and delayed their bloom. Apparently I was slightly misinformed. There are most definitely two very distinct daylilies in my garden, which I confirmed today. I had been watching the buds swell, thinking "those are darker and larger than the other daylilies were," but wasn't quite sure. Then they opened to this:
Big, double, orange flowers with red and yellow in the throat. I'd say that's a fair difference from the small, elegant yellow flowers of the other daylilies (click here to see those). The double characteristic seems to be a bit unstable, as seen in the flower pictured above with half the flower double and the other half single. I'll see how the rest open up. They also lack the fragrance of those yellow daylilies. I'm not usually very fond of double flowers, but these are just so fitting with the other flowers that are blooming in my garden now. The foliage is a little yellow, as you can see in the background. I relocated these plants to the base of a young Cercis canadensis and haven't really kept up on watering these transplants like I should have. Yet here they are, blooming! Daylilies are tough!
The Yucca filamentosa flowers are getting closer to opening. The tallest stalk must be close to 8 feet tall. The hummingbirds and moths will both be going after those flowers, though unlike the bees they'll be on different shifts.