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Butterfly & Hummingbird Gardens

YellowSwallowtailButterflies

Butterflies are one of the most delicate and beautiful creatures seen during the summer months. Nothing is better than sitting outside and watching these insects enjoy your garden as much as you do.  So here are a few tips on how to attract them to your home.

Butterflies like masses of color. They like their plants in warm, sunny, wind protected locations.  They also need a shallow water source and large, flat areas on which to rest and warm themselves.  Consider filling up a birdbath partially and laying out some large flat rocks.

The plants below are known to attract these beautiful creatures:

Achillea Black Eyed Susan Aster Impatients
Aconitum Japanese Iris Bee Balm Lantana
Butterfly Bush Nasturtium Campanula Penstemon
Cardinal Flower Petunia Columbine Viola
Iberis Coreopsis Cosmos Rose Mallow
Chrysanthemum Oregano Fuchsia Salvia
Geranium Scabiosa German Iris Echinacea
Verbena Veronica Honeysuckle Yarrow

Hummingbirds

Bearded IrisWatching hummingbirds zip around your garden is such a delight. These little creatures are fascinating to watch and welcoming them to your garden is easy.

While hummingbirds are attracted to the color red from a distance, they will feed on flowers of all colors, as long as they are filled with nectar. Hummingbirds are not attracted by fragrance.

Hummingbirds begin to arrive in April, when we often have cool, wet weather and few flowers blooming. Hang a hummingbird feeder to ensure plenty of food for the early arrivals. This may also encourage them to nest in your yard.

To make your own hummingbird food, use one part sugar to four parts water in your feeder.  You can make a quart of food at a time and store the extra in the refrigerator. Never use food coloring or honey. You must keep the feeder clean or the sugar water will ferment and be harmful to the birds. Wash the feeder with hot soapy water. Then rinse it with boiling water. Do this at least once a week and more frequently (every two to three days) during the heat of the summer. Refill the solution at least weekly, even if the birds are not diminishing it. You do not need to fill the feeder all the way up. During the Hummingbirdearly spring and fall, when the feeder is not in heavy use, you can fill it with as little as an inch or two of the sugar water.

Planting flowers that provide nectar will also help attract hummingbirds. Select many different varieties of annuals and perennials that will overlap in bloom times, from April until frost. Hummingbirds particularly like flowers with trumpet-like flowers. Some of their favorites include:

Abelia Hosta Aster Impatients
Azalea Japanese Iris Bee Balm Lantana
Butterfly Bush Nasturtium Campanula Penstemon
Cardinal Flower Petunia Columbine Phlox
Coral Bells Red Hot Poker Cosmos Rose Mallow
Foxglove Sage Fuchsia Salvia
Geranium Scabiosa German Iris Snapdragon
Hollyhock Veronica Honeysuckle Yarrow