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Sunday, March 20, 2011

hummers and vines

i do not know when it  started but as long as i can remember, i have had a thing for hummingbirds. i have had feeders for years and years and have always planted flowers to attract them. we even had one little guy return for 4 years in a row. he perched in the high bush cranberry by the pool and ferociously chased away any competition.

the last few years, we have placed a feeder right next to our outdoor table on the deck. we have been fortunate to get at least 4 a year that visit regularly. i can identify the different ones and after a while end up giving them names.

we have flowers everywhere that are in bloom from may till the frost but there are 2 vines that i like to grow that really attract the hummers. the first one is in the morning glory family. and yes, it acts just like a morning glory in that the blossoms open in the morning and close late afternoon. in between, the hummingbirds and hummingbird moths go crazy. the plant's common name is 'cardinal climber' but it is known as ipomoea x multifida.
 the plant takes a while to get going in our zone but it grows rapidly when the weather turns warm. it has this light and feathery foliage so i let it grow up the arborvitae hedge facing south. the lacy leaves and brilliant red flowers make it a stunning addition to any garden. the seeds can be ordered from most garden catalogs. i let some of the pods  grow and save the seeds from year to year. they claim that the seeds self sow but i have never had that happen.

the other vine that i grow is ' red runner beans'. this is a very old plant and can be traced back to the 1700's .it grows very vigorously. my fence is too short so i just keep guiding it to a different spot. the vines produce flaming red-orange flowers through out the season. The hummers love them.

they produce a green bean that can be eaten when they are very young.  we eat a helping or 3 and then let them mature for the dried beans. the pods are quite large and they produce dried beans that are both beautful and very large.
 if you love hummingbirds and have a place for these vines, get out the seed catalogs or find them on line.
                                                                order up and enjoy!

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