23 August 2009

Hummers

No, not the ridiculously huge vehicles, but the avian variety. I have a vague plan about planting the long bed beside the house with native plants that will attract hummingbirds, but haven't quite got around to that yet. This year it was taken over by wildflowers (no, they're not weeds because I'm happy for them to be there...for now). I started to think more seriously about my plan this morning because I saw my first hummingbird. Of course I didn't have my camera handy, and it took me a few seconds to realise what it was I was looking at. It was feeding from one of these flowers:


This is Spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), which is also known as Touch-me-not because of its exploding seed pods. We have a large clump of these next to the stream near our barns and it is quite a distinctive plant, with light green leaves, pale purple stems and those attractive slipper-shaped flower heads. It looks particularly beautiful when it's spangled with morning dew.


I always liked this plant, but now I know that hummingbirds visit them, I'm looking at it with a new respect. I've also found out that it has a number of medicinal uses, including stopping fresh mosquito bites from itching and swelling. I really must do something about that long bed next year. There's a handy list of native plants which hummingbirds can feed on, which will give me something to work from.

3 comments:

GardenJoy4Me said...

Amanda that is a great shot of a very colourful flower .. I don't think I have heard of it before. I haven't had luck seeing any hummers in my garden .. but they don't always stick around for a picture eh ? LOL
Joy

easygardener said...

It is most unfair that there are no humming birds in the UK. I get very envious every time I read blogs with them. Hope you manage to get a picture!

Heather said...

The hummers have gone crazy in my garden this year! They seem to love monarda (bee balm) and I have really enjoyed watching them sip from the million bells. Native is even better!