There is a special wonder that we all receive from catching a glimpse of a hummingbird. As we watch its graceful flight, darting from flower to flower, we are reminded of that childhood amazement with the natural world we too often forget. Equally enchanting, the butterfly provides us with color, beauty, and a gentle reminder to slow down and enjoy the flowers. These garden visitors are a joy to watch and part of a healthy ecosystem, so why not provide the environment they need to thrive, right in your own yard!
Certain plants are necessary and/or beneficial to these creatures and luckily, this Saturday, May 30th from 10-11, our very own perennial expert, Margaret Elmore, will be speaking about which perennials are good for attracting butterflies and birds, particularly hummingbirds. She will highlight some of the best flowers for providing nectar, plants necessary for caterpillars to eat and grow on, and shrubs that provide shelter and food for birds in the winter. In addition to her talk, she will be providing handouts and a basic garden plan that will help you get started creating your own natural bird and butterfly haven.
While perennials are very important to providing food and habitat for hummingbirds and butterflies, it’s a good idea to add some annuals as well. Butterflies enjoy bright, tubular flowers, many small flowers arranged closely together (often daisy-like), so they don’t use a lot of energy flying. Hummingbirds also enjoy tubular flowers, but they prefer flowers that are red or orange and are oriented sideways or facing downward. Annuals that provide nectar for butterflies (b) and hummingbirds (h) are; lantana (b,h), pentas (b,h), verbena (b,h), nasturtium (b,h), cuphea (h), petunias (h), cosmos (b), and zinnias (b). Annuals that provide food for caterpillars are parsley, dill, and fennel.
If you extend the invitation, these wonderful creatures will gladly accept. Happy planting!