Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hummingbird Festival returns Saturday

I can't help but think about my first encounter with a curious little ruby-throated wonder when the annual Hummingbird Festival returns. It's happening from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. Saturday at Reedy Creek Park, and it’s free. Humming-birds are fond of trumpet-shaped flowers such as the beauties on the pineapple sage plant. I grow this tender perennial because the arresting scarlet color is needed in September. That’s a time when many other blooms are fading or gone. I was kneeling beside a vigorous, fully bloomed, 4-foot-tall plant a few years ago as I tried to pull up a stubborn dandelion. I heard a humming sound, but it wasn’t the noise of the ticked-off carpenter bee that had been trying to scare me off. When I looked up, the hummingbird was hovering over the pineapple sage bush and watching me. Hummingbirds are curious, so it didn’t leave when I turned. It seemed amused to find a human wrestling with a weed. We stayed there for five seconds or so, eye to eye, then it took off. Seeing hummingbirds in my garden is one more reason that Salvia elegans is one of my favorite plants – a must for the herb garden. It’s just as valuable for bouquets, and you can use it for cooking and making teas. At the festival, you have a chance to see these agile migrating birds before they head south for the winter, and they rarely disappoint. Visit for information about the festival.