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Hummingbird Gardening

 One good way to enjoy the company of hummingbirds is planting a hummingbird garden. In addition to providing them a natural diet, a hummingbird garden is an excellent way to attract birds to your nearby feeder, since hummingbirds feed by sight on regularly-followed routes - called traplining - their inquisitive nature will quickly lead them to investigate any possible new source of food. A hummer garden is also a great way to capture the birds on film or video, and makes a much nicer backdrop for your photos than the typical plastic feeder. If you plan carefully and select a variety of plants that flower at successively later dates, you will be rewarded with happy hummers throughout the season.

Using pesticides around hummingbird plants is a very bad idea. Killing garden pests will also eliminate the small insects hummingbirds rely upon for protein. In addition, hummers might directly ingest pesticides sprayed onto flowers, which could sicken or kill the birds. Remember: if you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't feed it to a hummingbird! (Well, maybe not the bugs...)
Since hummers, like most birds, have virtually no sense of smell, the flowers that attract them tend to have little or no fragrance, apparently directing their resources instead toward high visibility and nectar production. Note also that cultivated hybrids often make much less nectar than wild strains. While you should visit your local nursery for suggestions specific to your climate and area, here are some of the best plants to consider if you're planning a hummingbird garden:


  

 Hummingbird gardening takes more than just flowers.
 
In addition to food sources, convenient perching opportunities will make your yard more hospitable to hummingbirds, since they spend around 80% of their time sitting on twigs, leaf stems, clotheslines, etc., between feeding forays and sorties against trespassing rivals.
Another way to get hummingbirds' attention is to festoon (be tasteful, now!) your feeder with red or orange surveyor's tape, available in hardware stores. It is thought that hummers are sensitive to ultraviolet light, which these fluorescent tapes reflect in abundance. Regardless, if you hang a feeder, sooner or later a hummingbird will come to investigate; it has been conjectured that, in a given year, not a square meter of the U.S. or southern Canada goes unchecked by hummers in their relentless quest for food.

Aside from the nectar filled flowers which you will grow, a good hummingbird garden must also consist of an entire habitat for the birds.

· Make certain that there is always fresh water available for drinking as well as for bathing.
· Create both sun and shade areas in your hummingbird garden. Hummingbirds need a place in shade to perch as well as to build their nests.
· Willows and Eucalyptus trees provide nesting materials which your hummingbirds will use, along with bits of leaves, spider webs, moss, and lichens to build their tiny nests.
 

Hummingbirds must feed 3-5 times per hour and your hummingbirds may become reliant on your garden for it's food, but there may be periods when there are no blossoms from which they can get nectar. It is a good idea to provide hummingbird feeders hung about thirty feet apart throughout your garden for these times. The best color for a feeder is bright red to attract the birds from a distance. Never fill your feeders with anything but sugar-water mix of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Do not use food coloring of any kind, and never, never use honey. (Honey can develop a fungus which can be fatal to hummingbirds)
Keep your feeders clean and filled!

 

  
  Plants to Attract and Feed Hummingbird's
 
Keep in mind that hummingbirds are attracted to flower colors and nectar, not fragrance. Some cultivated hybrids produce less nectar than their wild counterparts, but they still make excellent additions to your hummingbird garden.
 
Perennials:
  • Bee balm    Monarda didyma
  • Butterfly weed    Ascelpias tuberosa
  • Cardinal flower   Lobelia cardinalis
  • Columbine    Aquilegia sp.
  • Coral bells   Heuchera sanguinea
  • Cosmos    Cosmos sp.
  • Dahlia    Dahlia sp.
  • Delphinium   Delphinium elatum
  • Flame acanthus    Acanthus mollis
  • Foxglove    Digitalis purpurea (Biennial)
  • Fuchsia    Fuschia hybrida
  • Geranium    Pelargonium species
  • Hollyhock    Althea rosea (biennial)
  • Lupine   Lupinus hybrids
  • Monkeyflower    Mimulus hybridus
  • Penstemon   Penstemon sp.
  • Red hot poker   Kniphofia uvaria
  • Sage    Salvia officinalis
  • Scarlet sage    Salvia splendens
  • Speedwell   Veronica hybrids
  • Verbena    Verbena sp.
Annuals:
  • Mountain garland    Clarkia elegans
  • Four-o'-clock    Mirabilis jalapa
  • Touch-me-not   Impatiens sp.
  • Flowering tobacco    Nicotiana alata
  • Nasturtium    Tropaeolum majus
  • Petunia    Petunia hybrida
  • Spider flower   Cleome hasslerana
  • Zinnia    Zinnia sp.
Bulbs, Corms and Tubers:
  • Tuberous Begonia   Begonia sp.
  • Canna   Canna sp.
  • Gladiolus   Gladiolus sp.
  • Iris   Iris sp
  • Montbretia   Crocosmia sp.
Vines:
  • Bougainvillea    Bougainvillea sp.
  • Cardinal climber   Ipomoea quamoclit
  • Flame vine   Pyrostegia venusta
  • Honeysuckle    Lonicera sp.
  • Lantana    Lantana sp.
  • Rosary vine    Ceropegia woodii
  • Trumpet creeper    Campis grandiflora
  • Trumpet vines    Bignonia tagliabuana
Shrubs and Trees:
  • Abelia    Abelia grandiflora
  • Azalea    Rhododendron sp.
  • Bottlebrush    Callistemon lanceolatus
  • Butterfly bush    Buddleia davidii
  • Catoneaster   Catoneaster sp.
  • Eucalyptus    Eucalyptus sp.
  • Flowering currant   Ribes odoratum
  • Flowering quince    Chaenomeles sp.
  • Fuschia tree   Fuschia arborescens
  • Hibiscus   Hibiscus sp.
  • Lilac   Syringa sp.
  • Mimosa (silk tree)    Albizia julibrissin
  • Strawberry tree   Arbutus unedo
  • Wild lilac   Ceanothus griseus
  • Weigela   Weigela rosea
 


 
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