Saturday, December 31, 2005

Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to your Garden and Yard

By Christina VanGinkel

Attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard can be accomplished by planting certain varieties of plants and shrubs. Some of my favorites include the Black Night Butterfly Bush that thrives in full sun. It grows to approximately six to ten feet tall, and produces glorious star like blossoms from summer all the way through fall. These are commonly grown in zones 5 through 9. They have a sweet honey like scent that is pleasing to not only the butterflies and hummingbirds, but to the people who are lucky enough to encounter them too. The best part is that they are relatively easy to grow, so even if you are just a beginner gardener, if attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard is on your list of garden wishes, then be sure to plant a few of these Black Night Butterfly Bushes to give your garden and yard a head start.

For Zones 4 through 9, planting a few 3 in 1 Butterfly Bushes will not only meet your needs for attracting these delightful little creatures, they also work for creating a border along a walkway or garden path. With their cone shaped flowers in magenta, white, and lavender, butterflies who alight on the flowers are sitting so pretty you will be grabbing your camera for some must have shots.

The Blue Mist Shrub, for zones 5 through 8, is different looking enough that if you want something a bit beyond the standard shrub, which will bloom in the late part of summer, and provide a sweet fragrant aroma, then it may be just the shrub you have been looking for. Another lover of full sun, it prefers dry soil, making it perfect to plant in those areas where you wondered if you would ever be able to get anything to grow at all, let alone anything as beautiful as it is. That the Blue Mist Shrub also attracts butterflies is just one more bonus of this unique plant.

The Butterfly Flower Mix, good for zones 2 through 8, is a grandiose mixture of flowers in orange, red, pink, and lemon yellow. Listed as being drought tolerant and deer resistant, I would have to agree to the deer resistant, as when I planted this mix, the deer did nibble a bit at it at first, but then left the flowers in this mix alone. The Butterfly Flower Mix produced flowers for a good portion of the summer, and was a great addition color wise to my yard, not to mention attracting butterflies even when I had assumed the butterflies had all moved on.

While just about any bright flowering plant or bush can draw both butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard, planting a few of these tried and true bushes or flower sets will assure you of a good chance of attracting even more of these wonderful little winged creatures. Be sure that you also keep out a supply of clean, fresh water, and for the hummingbirds, a few dedicated feeders, and you will have created the most opportune habitat to draw them into your yard and garden and you could. Hummingbird feeders come is a wide variety of shapes and materials that will appeal to just about anyone. Choose a few that will blend in both in the garden or your yard, but that also will appeal to you and others who witness the hummers and they drink from them in mid flight. If you are lucky enough, you may even be witness to them as they actually settle down for a rest and a drink. I have only seen this happen a few times, but each time is as remarkable as the time before. My favorite hummingbird feeder that I have is a small, hand blown glass and copper feeder that resembles a giant open flower. The hummers just love it.

Placing out a few strategically placed butterfly houses will also entice these creatures into your yard. Choose one that will both blend into your garden area and provide a quiet place for them to hibernate. The outside appearance should be something that is both charming for the people who encounter it, and built well enough to provide a quiet sanctuary for the winged creatures who find their way to it.

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