Despite rain, temps in the low 40's, and wind warnings here in Langley, my little garden is full of hummingbirds. Several buzzed me when I went out this morning just as it was getting light. My mission was to cut some coppery-colored witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena') now in full bloom.
The witch hazel grows close by huge sprays of nectar-rich mahonia (Mahonia x media 'Arthur Menzies') that is one of the very few plants blooming now to feed our overwintering Anna's hummingbirds. And this cultivar is particularly effective, because it grows sufficiently large to offer up many golden, honey-scented blossoms atop its saw-toothed leaves. The blossoms are followed by blue-black berries that nourish birds in summer (read more about this outstanding cultivar on Great Plant Picks).
The little hummers were in a frenzy of feeding, competing with each other, and warning me away. The birds' delight in the flowers echoed my own pleasure in cutting branches of fragrant witch hazel to bring indoors.
I can't tell you how it lifts the gloom of winter to be buzzed by a hummingbird on a cold, dark, wet morning. These tiny creatures are surviving out there...surely we can make it through until springtime....