|Thursday Tips: Hummingbird Gardens|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 21 March 2013|
Most hummingbirds are native to Central and South America, but some live as far north as Canada, the Ruby-throated hummingbird for example. Attracting hummingbirds to your garden is fairly easy provided you meet a few requirements such as a warm climate for at least part of the year, a source of food in the form of flower nectar and small insects, and of course a herbicide and pesticide-free garden.
Like birds and butterflies, hummingbirds have evolved to pollinate specific flowering plants, particularly those with trumpet-shaped, bell-shaped, or tubular flowers. Examples of these flower shapes include bellflowers, petunias, and honeysuckle, respectively. Pay careful attention to the flower shapes. You might be surprised at what flowers have these shapes--bee balm (Monarda spp.), for example (pictured above).
Hummingbirds are attracted by color as well (and not fragrance as one might think). The color red is a favorite of hummingbirds and the rule of thumb is to plant flowers in large blocks of color--either all of the same species or of several different species. Hummingbirds hover when feeding so plants with tall stalks work well too.
As with butterfly gardens, it’s also important to include a water element in your hummingbird garden. A bird bath, spray mister, shallow bowl planted at grade level or a small trough are all suitable for this purpose. Be sure there are small trees and shrubs in the garden to provide shelter and a place where hummingbirds can build nests if they’re long-term residents.
Attracting Butterflies & Hummingbirds to Your Backyard: Watch Your Garden Come Alive With Beauty on the Wing (A Rodale Organic Gardening Book)
Photo source: www.fs.fed.us, Photo by Joseph M. Schneid