Aster tataricus ‘Jin Dai’ is the Heathrow of the garden world in my backyard right now. It is the busiest spot of them all as the tightly packed petals gradually loosen their grip and expose themselves to the wonderful world of insects.
All sizes of bee types are hovering and landing on this stand of Jin Dai. This group of three plants was replanted closer together after seeing an impressive display at the UT fall plant sale. Click here to read about it and see their Jin Dai planting. (This happens to be one of my most favorite posts, by the way.)
The much longed for Holy Grail of image captures, the feeding hummingbird is getting closer. The hanging feeder with the sugar water mixture was wonderful for viewing the little birds, even as they rested on the round railing surrounding the spigots.
But the territorial birds would always chase each other away if another tried to feed at the same time. And there were wasps who would even chase the birds away while feeding. It was disheartening when those wasps would even get inside the house when the glass sliders were opened. Down came the feeders and it was decided that the hummers would be viewed and enjoyed from special plantings just for them out in the garden.
Red Salvia ssp. are a big draw, but it is this mass planting of Cuphea ignea that is the prime feeding ground right now. A dozen small plants have foundered all summer, disliking the heat and droughty conditions. The cooling temps and rains of September have brought about much more blooming and the hummers are there often, taking advantage. I am there as well, with the 20x zoom camera, Canon Powershot SX1 IS, turned on and pointing at this planting, standing about ten to fifteen away. Being far enough away to not discourage the hummer feeding seems important. Being able to find the hummer in the viewer and click before she moves on to another flower is the more difficult task. I get excited and giddy upon seeing the hummers and had decided this past spring to simply enjoy their presence rather that thinking of pixels, to better enjoy life, the universe and everything. Here is a story about that decision, if you are interested. But circumstances were right on this afternoon, the sun was a bit too bright, the wind was a bit too breezy, but the little bird remained at these Cupheas long enough for three clicks of the shutter. The results are not perfect at all, but the fun is in the striving. Onward.