Trumpet honeysuckle and Eastern Columbine have bloomed just in time for migrating Ruby Throated Hummers and that's no coincidence. Hummingbirds and certain flowers have coadapted over millions of years to form a mutually beneficial relationship. Hummingbirds migrate thousands of miles annually and they're movement north typically coincides with the blooming of these preferred flowers.
Check out the map below to get a sense of the magnitude of their migration north and you'll understand why they need nectar rich flowers all along the route. By the time they reach our gardens they are hungry and searching for food.
|Hummers hover below these flowers to feed on nectar|
The red tubular and trumpet-shaped flowers of both columbines and trumpet honeysuckles hold more nectar than other flowers and are irresistible to hummingbirds. Their coadapted/mutually beneficial relationship is pretty cool. The long bill and tongue of these hummers fits into the throat of preferred flowers like columbines and trumpet honeysuckle flowers to easily reach the nectar, and while feeding, grains of pollen spill onto the head of the bird and is carried to other Columbines and Trumpet honeysuckle.
It's a marvelous dance that happens in gardens all over the Eastern United States and it's show time in Middle Tennessee.
|'Cedar Lane' Trumpet honeysuckle/Lonicera sempervirens|
wild bergamot/bee- balm
trumpet (or coral) honeysuckle
royal catchfly and round-leaved catchfly
four o’clock (e)
salvia and scarlet sage
There may not be as many nectar sources available with this crazy up and down spring we've had, so please consider hanging feeders. It's fun to watch the hummers up close and it's an easy way to supplement their nectar needs. You don't have to buy nectar, make your own, it's just sugar and water! There are recipes on the internet. Do not use the red dyed syrups.
|this source/link will take you to the website|
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.