Thursday, August 11, 2016

An Easy Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden

Sometimes you have to blow off what you are supposed to be doing and just enjoy a nice summer day to add some joy to life. For me, a nice summer day should be spent relaxing on the deck or fussing in the garden.....that is, if you can't be on the beach of course!
butterfly garden
This is my butterfly and hummingbird garden which is right outside my kitchen door. It's just little, but there's a lot of action going on. We just need to take a little time to actually see the action! 

bees...
bee on coneflower

dragonflies...
dragonfly

butterflies...
black swallowtail on butterfly bush

hummingbirds...
hummingbird on feeder

goldfinches...
goldfinches on black-eyed susans

Even a feral cat friend enjoys a morning nap on a cool rock.
cat in the garden
Believe me, it's not complicated to create a small garden space to attract the attention of butterflies and hummingbirds. We planted easy, common flowers to attract them. Plus, the hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water is a hummingbird magnet! Make your own sugar water instead of buying the commercial hummingbird nectar from stores. It's easy and inexpensive. Plus, those packaged nectars can contain preservatives and red dye. I won't give that to my little visitors.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Mix 4 parts of water to 1 part of granulated sugar in the amount desired. Example: 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup sugar.

Heat water in a saucepan to a boil.
Add sugar.
Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Boil for a minute.
Remove from heat. 
Let the nectar cool and add it to the feeder.

Extra nectar can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Your hummingbird feeder should be cleaned and refilled with fresh nectar every 3 or so days. The sugar water gets funky out in the summer heat.

Remember to never use pesticides or insecticides in or near your butterfly/hummingbird garden.

Back to the plants. Many plants butterflies and hummingbirds like are perennials that come up every year which is great. We have planted

A purple butterfly bush (Buddleia)
Black-eyed Susans (Rubeckia)
Coneflowers (Echinacea)
Dianthus
Hollyhocks (Alcea)
and Red Day Lillies

We add in annuals. This year we did

Petunias
Zinnias
and Impatiens 

All but the impatiens are sun loving plants. The impatiens go in shady spots.

We also have a hibiscus not far from the garden which the butterflies and hummingbirds love too.
butterfly on hibiscus

I decided to to to one of my favorite garden stores, Mostardi Nursery, and to pick up a plant to help fill in a space in the garden. I got a Kalimeris Incisa Blue Star, a type of aster that is an easy to care for plant that butterflies like. Easy is the keyword here. Look at the happy little bluish purple flowers!  
Kalimeris Incisa Blue Star,

Click here for a larger butterfly garden plant list 

I potted it and placed on top of a rock in the garden. It helped the garden look fuller for sure and added a new color to the mix. 
butterfly garden
I like it. I hope the butterflies like it too. 


Take a little time today to enjoy some natural beauty!

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