Photo Shoot

For the next few weeks, the ruby-throated hummingbirds will be hanging around the crocosmia “Lucifer” most of the day. I saw — and frequently heard —  at least two separate individuals today, one of whom — I think it’s a juvenile, not an adult female, based on the grey streaky throat, but it could be an adult female! — gave me quite the photo op.


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is an Alan Bloom hybrid (Crocosmia x Curtonus) with “tubular, nodding, scarlet red, one-sided flowers borne along the upper portions of stiffly arching, sometimes branched, flower scapes (stems) typically rising up to 3′ (infrequently to 4′) tall and slightly above the narrow, sword-shaped, basal leaves.” It looks tropical, one reason I planted it. Some of my plants reach more than 4 feet high.

In fact, the Missouri Botanical Garden website advises that the corms are “not reliably winter hardy in USDA Zone 5 where it needs a protected location and winter mulch. In order to insure winter survival in USDA Zone 5 and perhaps Zone 6A, digging up the corms in fall and storing them in a dry medium over winter (in somewhat the same manner as gladiolus) is an option that may be considered.”

I’m surprised! I live in U.S. hardiness zone 4b to 5a, planted these corms in April 2013, and have never done anything special with them. They have spread quite a bit, into two other gardens on the property and they have greatly extended their reach here in the vegetable garden, which, admittedly, is a bit of a microclimate: against the house, facing southeast. The buddleia (butterfly bush) seems to like it here, too, though I’ve lost three or four other buddleias in other spots in the yard over eight years.

A few action shots from today’s shoot:


As you can see, this bird’s throat is not ruby-coloured, either because it’s a juvenile or an adult female, but in any case, it’s a gorgeous bird, with a long black bill, shiny black eyes, iridescent emerald crest and flank feathers and white-tipped tail feathers, greyish-white throat and chest.

The bird was of course easiest to photograph — from inside the window — while sitting still. I think he (or she) took a little nap.

a bit of a context shot — crocosmia just starting flowering a few days ago and most are still in bud
checking out the sky
checking out me
ruffled head, eye closed
beak slightly obscured by a leaf


I’m so happy they’ve found the crocosmia, now that it’s blooming!



  1. These are the clearest photos of a hummingbird I’ve seen, and what a beautiful bird it is! I’m sure you could watch them for hours if you had the time.

  2. I just pulled up the last of my dried crocosmia today. It really should have been pulled up weeks ago. the same crocosmia is still green at work, where it is down in a cool and damp creek embankment. I have never planted any of the garden varieties because the naturalized crocosmia is such an invasive weed. I sort of like the yellow crocosmia, but I certainly do not need more that what I already have!

  3. Either you have a large lens or you got nice and close. I love hummingbirds. At my old house, mine would wait at the window while I refilled their feeder, or if my garden was in season, head over to some of my flowers. Such amazing creatures.

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