Attracting hummingbirds to your garden

I find small gardens magical. With limited space, gardeners are creative and playful with their choices. They also tend to care for them to the point of perfection.

I spent time in a garden this week that glowed. 

With a reflecting pool and Mark Blumenstein art as a spout, the water sound babbling was the perfect soundtrack for the stained-glass and other art pieces placed throughout the garden. 

Comfy chairs on the patio provided a front-row seat to the pollinators that flitted from bloom to bloom. The blooming hostas and yellow lantana seemed to be the butterfly’s favorite.  

Huge deep pink hibiscus flowers attracted the hummingbirds. These little hummers darted from flowers to the feeders and seemed to know they were the evening’s entertainment.

Four of these tiny creatures are regulars in this garden. Like most hummingbirds, these are creatures of habit and have the same “flight plan” every evening.

They swoop in over the left fence and land on the hibiscus; after feeding there, they visit the feeders, then swoosh – they fly up into the trees on the right side of the garden.

No wonder hummingbirds like this garden. The gardeners are doing everything right to attract them and meet the hummers’ needs.

These little dynamos stay in almost constant motion. Their heart beats 1, 260 times per minute, and they take 150 breaths per minute. Hummers have a life span of 3-5 years, depending on species and environment. 

 A group of hummers is called a charm. They remember where their favorite feeders and flowers are located. Although they love sugar (who doesn’t), they also need a bit of protein which they get from pollen and insects. With their long narrow beaks and quick reflexes, they can grab insects mid-air. 

This garden also had feeders hung for the birds. Hummingbirds can eat twice their body weight daily; remember, they are burning lots of calories staying in perpetual motion.  

An easy way to refill the feeders is four parts water and one part refined sugar. Mix and bring it to a quick boil. Making your own syrup will guarantee there are no added chemicals or dye. Nectar is clear, so there is no need to add coloring, which could harm the birds.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Plants that have red or orange blooms that will draw the birds are bee balm, trumpet honeysuckle., and cardinal flowers. 

Another reason hummers are drawn to this garden is the water. Several spots are available for a quick drink or a “bird bath” because they like to bathe often.

Sticks, stems, or small branches nearby provide a spot for them to perch and take in the surrounding area, or they may nap in a protected area. They will find places both in the open and covered, depending on their needs. 

Hummingbirds were not the only pollinators visiting the garden in the early evening. Butterflies were everywhere. Knowing that the birds, bees, and butterflies were invited to claim this garden as theirs and that the habitat had been created to welcome them made my heart happy.

As the sun set and darkness came, the garden began to glow. Trees had uplighting, lights sparkled among the flower border, and candlelight bathed the patio. Maybe it was knowing the hummers had feasted on sugar, and after a delicious ice cream dessert, I had too; I had a feeling of contentment and felt lucky to spend a few hours ending a hard week with friends in a garden aglow with beauty.