Hummingbirds fascinate me, which is why I always make sure to have not only sugar-water feeders out, but also as many red-blossomed flowers as possible. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red.

While the plastic hummingbird feeders sold almost everywhere are more than adequate to attract hummingbirds and keep them around, I was fortunate to find a replica of an earlier-style feeder in a local hardware store. This one is made of red ruby glass, with the words “Perky Pet Company, Since 1958” emblazoned on its side in raised letters.

The body is in the shape of a flat flask, and the screw-on attachment with the little florets for the hummers to drink from is made of metal.

I was amused something from the year 1958 is considered antique, since I remember that year well. On the other hand, perhaps I am an antique and just didn’t realize it. Food for thought.

Now on to red-flowered plants. I love beans and grow bush and pole types. This year’s choice for pole beans came from the “Pinetree Garden Seed” catalogue. The name is “Black Coat Runner,” and it is touted to be the oldest heirloom-type runner bean seed still available. The flowers are described as “glowing crimson.” The flowers on mine are just showing and they certainly are a brilliant shade of red. There is little doubt the local hummingbirds will flock to these pretty, red flowers.

As an aside, even if you don’t have much garden space, it is still possible to plant pole beans since they take up so little room. Growing vertically also gives the benefit of being able to harvest the beans without much bending, a boon to a back that remembers 1958 well.

Also, heirloom seeds allow us to save seed from one year to the next. The way things are going, it seems a good idea to plant as many heirloom varieties as possible.

Besides my red-flowered pole beans, I also plant lots of red geraniums. Remember, anything red to draw hummingbirds to your yard. To give the hummers a feeling of security, I plant some geraniums in hanging baskets, so they don’t have to get too close to the ground where predators lurk.

Here’s some advice for those who like to wade into a project head-first: Plant all the red-flowered plants you want. You can never have too many. But regarding sugar-water feeders, step back for a moment and reflect a bit. Remember, once hummers begin coming to a feeder, they can quickly drain it. That means you must be on the alert and when the feeder gets low, make sure to refill it. While hummingbirds can get by fine without our help, once they become dependent upon a feeder, it disrupts their daily cycle if they find their feeder empty.

Sure, two, three or more feeders will attract lots of hummingbirds, but remember, once you establish a feeding station, it is your responsibility to keep the feeders filled.

I recall staying at a sporting lodge near a river up in Aroostook County. The lodge was the only open place around, it being surrounded by a huge, dense forest. Consequently, all kinds of birds came to the opening around the lodge, including hummingbirds. The owners established a long line of feeders along the well-mowed riverbank and put benches at regular intervals for guests to sit and watch the hummers as they buzzed and see-sawed around the feeders. These feeders never got dangerously low, and the hummers loved them.

As for me, my red flowers and single, sugar-water feeder suffices to keep two pairs of hummingbirds around, and their antics are enough to keep me amused and entertained.

Tom Seymour, of Frankfort, is a homeowner, gardener, forager, naturalist, registered Maine Guide, amateur astronomer, magazine and newspaper columnist, and book author.