Whenever I have a moment in the early morning – unfortunately but fortunately, I’m usually too busy with my “gang of 6,” sending them off on their rounds to tend to my client’s gardens or actually digging up and planting one – I like to take me and my cup of coffee out into my garden and chill for 15 or 20 minutes.
There, on occasion, I have been pleased to run into a very busy, very attentive, brown hummingbird. Now I know nothing about hummingbirds, but if they could whistle while they work, which I don’t believe they can since they’re far too focused on sipping up nectar, I’m sure this one would as it zips about from flower to flower.
With my brown humming bird as my inspiration and knowing many people like to include plants that attract hummingbirds in their gardens, I decided to educate myself and started checking out sites on Google.
Hummingbird Garden Design
It seems that successful hummingbird gardens are based first around their feeding. This makes perfect sense, since hummingbirds, like most of us, have some basic needs: good food, something to drink and a nice place to sleep and hang out.
They like protective cover and a mixture of trees and shrubs helps and they feed on the flowers of the moment. This mean that when selecting plants, you should choose those that attract hummingbirds and you need to make sure that these hummingbird preferred species have overlapping blooming cycles. This way there’s always a food source for the hungry hummingbirds and they will make your garden their home.
Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world. They weigh less than a nickel. They are also the fastest. They have the fewest feathers and the smallest nests – no surprise there. And they have the fastest heartbeats. There are 338 species and only 23 species have been recorded in the United States. Of those only 16 species have been recorded nesting north of the Mexican border.
Hummingbirds are native to the Western Hemisphere. They have coevolved with the plants from this Hemisphere. Their migrations are legendary. Some go from South America to North America. The amount of food required to keep such a small organism warm and moving so fast has to be huge, they often eat their own body weight in nectar every day.
In general plants with long tubular orange or red flowers attract hummingbirds. Plants in the honeysuckle and hibiscus families are also great choices to attract hummingbirds.
Migrating hummingbirds have already found many of the tropical Salvia’s as they went through South and Central America and these plants will grow quite well here in Southern California too. Other non-native plants that work well are the Aloes, Red hot pokers, and other plants in the mint and hibiscus families.
If you’d like to learn more about hummingbirds there are any number of websites that deal with the subject, but one I found particularly helpful was: http://www.hummingbirds.net