I'd Rather Fight Than Switch

Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'
As I dug and yanked clumps of Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' out of the ground, an old commercial played in my mind. It was when cigarette ads were allowed on television and featured people wearing black eye makeup. They all said, "I'd rather fight than switch." It was my battle cry for pulling this rampant spreader, the only cultivar of Monarda I grow for its great flower color and resistance to mildew.

Yes, I know there are many other hummingbird magnets out there that aren't so pushy, but my hummingbirds actually sit on the electric wires to wait for my Monarda to bloom. Really.

I'm not saying that if I had more Lobelia or if I had room for Campsis radicans my hummingbirds wouldn't still love to visit. It's just that my dry and somewhat sun-challenged garden best supports Monarda.

Digitalis is another magnet for hummingbirds. But no matter the claim of its perennial nature, it sticks around for a couple of years and then peters out completely when its seed sprouts in places rapidly covered by stronger growing plants.

This photo, shot in 2007, reminds me I should get more of this lovely plant for the earlier hummingbird arrivals.

Of course, I'll always have Pentas. This nectar-rich tropical is still available in a tall form, which I think makes a better resident in combo pots.

At right, I used a compact lavender form in the ground with perennial Geranium and Dianthus.

But I guess the bottom line is this: Use as many different flowering plants as you can squeeze in and there are bound to be some the hummingbirds can't resist.

1 comment:

  1. I guess all gardeners have a nemesis.Some of us have many!