Who's Using What

Lots of critters in the yard these days--partly because we always have water available for them, and partly because of the buffet. I keep a bird feeder or two going all year long, which certainly attracts some folks--but certain plants bring out some of our favorite wildlife.

One of our most popular plants right now is

agastache aurantiaca

. It is supposed to be a cultivar discovered in New Mexico. We planted it our first year in a large pot out front, thinking that the sculpture we call Escargot would enjoy the company. It looked pretty good last year, but this year it is really a standout. It has been blooming for weeks, and the hummingbirds love it.

They also love the

cardinal flower

, the

monarda

(which is nearly done), and the

lonicera sempervirens

. And the phlox and salvias. And they even take the time to work over the vitex. In the picture at right, our ruby-throat is working over the monarda didyma (she'll take on the monarda fistulosa, as well) that grows right beside the red trumpet honeysuckle. This is the most activity we've ever had from hummers, and it has been great fun. I'd love to know what other natives have worked in WNC for the little demons. I have a lousy track record with hummingbird feeders, so it's much easier for me to just plant something!

The goldfinches are our best songbirds for de-seeding the

coneflower

,

liatris

(blazing star) and rudbeckia (all varieties). The one that's the most fun to watch them devour is the

cutleaf rudbeckia

, which is quite tall. Ours is at least 5 feet tall, but wildflower.org says this beast can reach 12 feet. One plant is in a large raised bed, but another is right in the clay--both suffer under the direct sun portion of the day, but do recover--though the one in the ground recovers more quickly.

This particular species was initially a gift from an old friend with a nursery--it had sprouted up between many of her display tables, and we simply couldn't resist it. If you need something with some height without a very large footprint, I highly recommend it. Just needs a little water now and then!  Ours dies back completely for the winter and then grows, and grows....

Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla Gardening

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