“Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.”
One of my all-time favorite things is sitting on the back patio admiring the garden. I love it so much I do it in the morning over a cup of coffee and in the evening over a glass of wine. I particularly enjoy watching the hummingbirds dart from flower to flower, seeing the birds splash about in the bird bath, and following the flight of the butterflies as they seek out my flowering shrubs. Over years of practicing this ‘garden admiration’ I have learned what garden plants and features best attract birds and butterflies. Besides the obvious, such as Butterfly Bush, I wanted to share a few of my top picks:
Hosta – Believe it or not, hosta flowers are a hummingbird’s favorite. If you are a shade gardener and hostaholic, give thanks. That means you will have lots of ‘hummers’ in your yard. Hummingbirds are so fast, I wasn’t able to catch one in a photo, but at least you can see the flowers they find so appealing!
|Hosta ‘Green Pie Crust’ in flower|
Bird Bath – Having a bird bath will definitely attract the birds. I love watching the different bathing rituals. Some birds dive right in while others tip toe around the edge of the bird bath first, as if contemplating whether it’s too cold or unsafe in some way. Certain birds scold those that interrupt their bathing, while others seem to like the idea of community bathing, as if they were people soaking in a hot tub together. Even when the birds aren’t bathing, a bird bath provides a wonderful, sculptural element in the garden.
|A granite bird bath makes a statement|
Bird House – There are many types of bird houses available. They can add elegance or whimsy to your garden; most importantly, they provide a place for birds to build nests and raise their young. Everyone should experience the wonderment of watching a pair of birds stake claim to a birdhouse, build a nest, and encourage their young ones to take that first flight. The best part? Many of them return year after year. Of course sometimes the best bird house is one you didn’t anticipate…..like the outdoor speaker on the covered patio!
|House finch nesting on the outdoor speaker|
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) – What a beautiful site to see a pair of swallowtails perched on my Echinacea.
|Swallowtails and Echinacea|
Bottle Brush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) – The butterflies seem to be intoxicated by my Bottle Brush Buckeyes. Seeing dozens of butterflies on a single shrub is not an uncommon site in my garden.
|A butterfly on almost every bloom|
I hope you have been inspired to add some bird and butterfly magnets to your garden. If you have experience with your own bird and butterfly magnets, let me know what they are. Sharing is one of the best parts of gardening!