It is that time of year in the garden that I envision for many months, beginning on frigid, dark winter evenings when I winter sow my first seeds of the year, when the garden outside is asleep under a blanket of snow. In the following months, seeds are sown, cuttings and seedlings are nursed along in the basement under lights, and all are eventually planted out in the garden over the course of a couple of weeks in May. When the plants I’ve raised are initially planted out in my garden beds, I always have a hard time imagining all that space between the tiny plants eventually filling in; my temptation is always to plant them a bit closer together than I know I should. After years of doing this, I’ve come to learn to trust that they always fill in, grow together into a tall hedge, and bloom.
The peak of bloom of my large annual beds of Salvias coincides with the late summer hummingbird feeding frenzy. The young are out of the nest, the adults have turned their attention to migration, and all are feeding as much as possible to consume the energy they will need to make the journey back south to Mexico and Central America, where they will spend the winter. Use of my feeders peaks during the last half of August and first week of September, during which time I mix up about a gallon of nectar a day for the hungry hummers to consume. It is an absolute joy to be out in the garden at this time, hummers darting about among the masses of flowers, chasing others away from their nectar-filled flowers, born on the same plants I started from a tiny seed or cutting many months ago.