Tag Archive for: hummingbird garden

Picture a garden filled with colorful flowering plants with hummingbirds hovering about. 

Now imagine that this garden is located in a small space against the backdrop of the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona and you have paradise.

Small Space Garden: Hummingbird Paradise

Beds filled with flowering perennials are my favorite element of gardens.  Their appearance changes month to month as blooming transitions from one type of perennial to the other.

So, I was delighted to see that this hummingbird paradise was filled with beds filled with blooms of every color.

What I liked about the first perennial bed that I first saw was its curved edge, brightly colored wall in the back and the colorful tiles, which highlighted the flower colors.

A single purple-flowering, Chihuahuan sage(Leucophyllum laevigatum) anchored the corner of the bed with its height.  The purple flowers provided great color contrast with the blanket flower, coneflower, salvias and yarrow.

Coral Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Coral)

Coral Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Coral)

Some of my favorite hummingbird plants were growing in the garden.  Salvias are quite frankly, hummingbird magnets and grow beautifully in arid climates.

Salvia microphylla 'Lipstick'

Salvia microphylla ‘Lipstick’

While most Salvia species grow well in full sun – if you live in the low-desert, they will do best when planted in filtered shade.

Salvia greggii 'Purple'

Salvia greggii ‘Purple’

When deciding what types of plants to add to your garden that will attract hummingbirds – salvias are a sure thing.

hummingbird paradise

The deck was paved with flagstone and had two separate planting beds.  Even though each planting area wasn’t large, the plant palette was not limited since there are many perennials that don’t grow overly large, so the homeowners were able to fit in a lot of colorful plants in the confined spaces.

In the second perennial bed, two different colored hummingbird mint (Agastache spp.) plants provide height and anchor each end of the bed.  The sunny colors of blanket flower fill the middle.

Again, a brightly-colored wall adds to the beauty of this area.

hummingbird paradise

The flowers of hummingbird mint (also known as hyssop) are simply irresistible to hummingbirds.

hummingbird paradise

Besides producing pretty flowers and attracting hummingbirds, these perennials are drought tolerant, love hot/dry spaces, can be grown in zones 5-10 and are deer and rabbit resistant. They bloom summer to fall.

Blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.) come in a multitude of warm colors with shades or red, yellow and orange.

This colorful plant thrives in sunny spaces and attracts butterflies.

You’ll find this perennial growing in a wide range of gardens from zones 3 – 10.  

painted 'garden'

The homeowners made the most out of their small garden space by creating a painted ‘garden’ along a previously blank wall.

Hummingbirds weren’t bothered by us and they hovered by the hummingbird mint and salvia flowers enjoying a drink of nectar.

This special garden is a wonderful example of how a garden limited on space can be used to create a lovely hummingbird paradise.

**For more information on plants that will attract hummingbirds to your Southwest garden, I recommend Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*



 

Creating a Hummingbird Container Garden

As summer begins to wane, my thoughts start to turn toward fall planting and upcoming holidays.

But, before I put summer “to bed”, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of our summer adventures.

Williams, AZ.

The highlight of our summer was spending a week in Williams, AZ.

Every year we head up to this small Route 66 town, which is the known as “The Gateway to the Grand Canyon”.

We travel up to this special place along with my mother, siblings and their families.  A collection of small, rustic cabins house us for the week.

This small mound of dirt is called "Danny's Mountain" by the boys (Danny is my little 4-year old nephew to the right)

This small mound of dirt is called “Danny’s Mountain” by the boys (Danny is my little 4-year old nephew to the right).

It’s a place where smartphones and video games give way to playing outdoors with cousins finding new places to explore.

My niece Sofie and my daughter, Ruthie

My niece Sofie and my daughter, Ruthie.

Teenage girls discover the delights of pushing each other on a tree swing.

Hummingbird Festival

Little army men toys replace video games as battle strategies are discussed and put in play.

5-month old Eric having fun with his grandpa

5-month old Eric having fun with his grandpa.

As a grandparent, it is also a special time for my husband and I to spend with our two grandchildren.

Lily

Lily

My granddaughter, Lily, was busy picking flowers for her ‘collection’.  She loves flowers and keeps them in her jewelry box.

Dare I hope that she follows in her grandma’s footsteps and becomes a horticulturist?

delicious food

Of course, what’s summer vacation without delicious food!

Before, you ask…no, I didn’t eat all these pies myself – I shared with them with 15 other family members 😉

My daughter Rachele

Fourth of July found us in the pool, waiting for fireworks to begin.

My daughter Rachele, who is in the Navy, was able to come visit with our newest family addition, Eric.  This was his first time swimming and he loved it!

Ruthie, Sofie and Gracie

Ruthie, Sofie and Gracie

At the beginning of our summer season, we had a special visitor.

My daughter, Ruthie, was adopted from China when she was 9 years old.  Her cousin, Sofie, came from the same orphanage and so did their friend, Gracie.

These girls spent their early childhood together, creating special, sisterly bonds with each other in the absence of having parents.

Now that they are all adopted and living in the U.S., they have kept in touch.  Gracie flew in to spend a few days with her ‘orphanage sisters’ and we had so much fun with her.

Pillow fights, baking sweets, enjoying good Chinese food and playing board games filled much of their time together.  

Walking along State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, CA

Walking along State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, CA

A quick trip to Southern California was taken in the beginning of June to visit Rachele.  We were able to stay in her townhouse on the Navy base.

Whenever we visit her, we take time to travel up to picturesque Santa Barbara, CA, which is where my husband and I met almost 30 years ago.  

Hummingbird Festival

Ruthie learned how squirmy little babies are when you try to get them dressed…

Hummingbird Festival

This summer, we went through a truly wonderful experience together.

We traveled to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.  Both adults and kids were looking forward to seeing planets in our solar system.  

Hummingbird Festival

While I did expect to see some great things through the telescopes, what I didn’t expect was the beautiful flowering perennials growing throughout the grounds of the observatory.

My brother, kept teasing me as I kept stopping to take pictures of the flowers.

My son, Kai, looking at Venus

My son, Kai, looking at Venus

Outdoor telescopes focused on Jupiter and Venus.

I don’t know who was more excited, the kids or the adults.  It was almost incomprehensible that we could view these faraway planets.  

My nephew, Dean, loves flowers and kept asking me what the names of them were.

My nephew, Dean, loves flowers and kept asking me what the names of them were.

I must admit that I enjoyed the flowers almost as much as I did the planets.

 My mother, helping my daughter as she looks at Saturn.

My mother, helping my daughter as she looks at Saturn.

Believe it or not, we were able to see Saturn and its rings!

Hummingbird Festival

We had a wonderful time at the observatory and learned so much.  I highly recommend visiting this or any observatory near you.  It was an unforgettable experience!

Hummingbird Festival

Hummingbird Festival

The last part of our summer fun occurred at the Hummingbird Festival, where I was asked to be a presenter.

I have two separate talks on small space hummingbird gardening and had a great time meeting new people.

Hummingbird Festival

One of my favorite parts of the festival was touring many beautiful gardens in Sedona where the festival was held.

Hummingbird Festival

I came home from the festival inspired to create a garden space dedicated to plants that attract hummingbirds.  I can hardly wait to get started this fall, which is the best time to add new plants to the garden.

In the meantime, we have increased the amount of hummingbird feeders in our backyard and have seen three hummingbirds at a single feeder 🙂

************************

Well, that was our summer fun in a nutshell.  The kids are now in school and my eyes are focused on  the fall including the upcoming Garden Writer’s Conference in Pasadena, CA in September.

**What did your ‘summer in review’ look like?  Did you travel to any new places, see old friends or have any new experiences?**  

A Few of my Favorite Things……Hummingbirds

Last time we ‘talked’, I was showing you a Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden that I was asked to work on.

“Creating a Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden”

As I promised, here is the photo of the finished project…

Hummingbird Garden

Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden

 Although the new plants are somewhat small and scraggly-looking, they will soon grow and produce many flowers.

Hummingbird Garden

Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden

We created a pathway throughout the garden and groups of plants will visually guide visitors along the curved path.

The pathway was made of 1/4″ stabilized decomposed granite, which is essentially decomposed granite that has been mixed with a stabilizer.  This creates a natural pathway that has a hard surface.

As I promised last time, here is a list of butterfly / hummingbird reflecting plants that we included:

Autumn Sage  (Salvia greggii) Butterfly & Hummingbird

Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) Butterfly & Hummingbird

Baja Ruellia  (Ruellia peninsularis) Hummingbird

Baja Ruellia  (Ruellia peninsularis) Hummingbird

Black Dalea  (Dalea frutescens) Butterfly / Hummingbird

Black Dalea  (Dalea frutescens) Butterfly / Hummingbird

Damianita  (Chrysactinia mexicana)

Damianita  (Chrysactinia mexicana)

Firecracker Penstemon  (Penstemon eatonii)Butterfly / Hummingbird

Firecracker Penstemon  (Penstemon eatonii)Butterfly / Hummingbird

Globe Mallow  (Sphaeralcea ambigua)Butterflies 

Globe Mallow  (Sphaeralcea ambigua)Butterflies 

Lantana (all species)Butterfly / Hummingbird

Lantana (all species)Butterfly / Hummingbird

Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)Butterfly / Hummingbird

Red Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)Butterfly / Hummingbird

Red Fairy Duster  (Calliandra californica)

Red Fairy Duster  (Calliandra californica) Butterflies / Hummingbirds 

These are but a few of the plants that will attract butterflies and/or hummingbirds.  So how about including some in your garden?

Do you like butterflies and hummingbirds?  It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t.

Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden

Hummingbird at the Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA

Over 13 years ago, I was working for a golf course management company.  At that time, I created a butterfly garden and a separate hummingbird garden, adjacent to one of the golf courses.

A few years afterward, I created another hummingbird garden at another golf course.  It was so rewarding to see the little hummers visit the flowering plants and perch up high in the Palo Verde trees.

Hummingbird Garden

Hummingbird Garden

So you can imagine how excited I was when I was asked to help create a new butterfly & hummingbird garden.

In fact, the site was the same hummingbird garden that I had created over 10 years ago (above).

Over the years, the plants hadn’t been replaced and it didn’t look the same as it did.

Creating a Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden

I visited the site with the person who was spearheading the new garden and we started to determine what existing plants would stay and which ones we would have removed- because this garden is to be an educational garden for the community, we needed to keep only the plants that attracted butterflies and/or hummingbirds.

The woman I was working with is a retired horticulturist in Minnesota and we had so much fun talking about ‘gardening’ and past projects.

Then I went to work on the design.  The garden will have a path and benches on either end so that people can sit and enjoy watching butterflies and hummingbirds.

Because this was to be a combination Butterfly/Hummingbird garden, I incorporated plants that would attract both.

In fact, there are many plants that attract both butterflies and hummingbirds.

Once the design and estimate was approved, it was time to come back out and mark out the path and flag for plant and boulder placement.

It was so much fun to see my old friends from my former landscape crew stop by and say “hi”.

A few days later, it was time to place the plants, which is my absolutely favorite part.

Creating a Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden
Creating a Butterfly / Hummingbird Garden

Later that same day, the landscape company came out to install the plants.

I can’t wait for you to see the finished project and show you the plant list.

**To see the finished project and plant list, click here.**

PS.  Thanks to all of you who so kindly voted for me for “Top Gardening Blog”(I came in 7th out of the 51 blogs that were nominated :-).

I was asked this question 10 years ago by a woman in the human resources department as I was filling out new hire paperwork for my new job.  At first I was taken aback.  But, the evidence was irrefutable….I was wearing pink nail polish and I was a horticulturist.  

horticulturist job

Bougainvillea, Gold Lantana and Purple Lilac Vine adorn a feature area along the golf course.

And so that was my introduction to what turned out to be many years at a very fulfilling job working as a horticulturist for two golf courses, and for the surrounding community areas.

horticulturist job

The golf courses were bordered by a national forest, (yes that is a national forest in the background), and an Indian reservation, so much of the surrounding area was untouched and just beautiful.

horticulturist job

I set to work right way, designing and planting new landscapes  everywhere I could find bare, boring areas…and there were quite a few.

My job was not without it’s challenges…..I was the only woman in a department of 38 men, besides the secretary, which was not always easy.  I had to earn their respect before they would do what I asked.  Also, sometimes I would have to act braver then I was when the guys would show me snakes they found as well as huge grubs they dug up.  I would pretend it was no big deal to me, even though I cringed inside.

horticulturist job

I managed all of the landscape areas, but thankfully, not the turf areas on the golf course.  I had a crew of 4 men, which included my foreman, who had followed me from my previous job.  

Although my favorite part of my job was designing and installing new landscape areas, I also was in charge of the maintenance of 100’s of trees and plants as well.

horticulturist job

I did have unfortunate mishaps such as losing a large saguaro in a torrential summer storm and the Palo Verde tree below.

I used to dread going to work the days after a summer storm.  I would spend hours deciding what fallen trees could be saved and those that could not.  It was always very sad to see some beautiful trees lost.

horticulturist job

Riding in my little golf cart around the golf courses and community was always so much fun.  I typically spent 1/2 my days in the office and 1/2 outdoors.  The weather was usually very nice to be out in.   In the winter, the golf courses would be covered in a layer of thick frost at times and golfers would anxiously wait until it melted so they could start golfing.

For the most part, summers were nice too, although an occasional day over 114 would hit.  Those were hard, because the crew would have to continue working outside, so I would have the crew work on pruning trees so that they could stay in the shade – I always felt guilty that I had an air-conditioned office to retreat to.

golf course

Some landscape areas did not have an irrigation system, so were planted with succulents and hand-watered twice in the summer.  Washes lined with river rock ran through many of the areas, like the one above, which would rapidly fill with water after a summer storm.

golf course

After placing the plants that were to be planted, I would often join my crew in digging holes and planting.  Did I already mention that this was my favorite part of the job?

golf course

New Planting of Valentine and Rosemary

I was given the opportunity to present landscaping seminars for the local residents and was absolutely terrified my first time, but soon learned to love speaking to groups. **People who meet me find out very quickly that it is hard to shut me up when I talk about plants ;^)

golf course

I left this wonderful place to work for a landscape design firm, where I could focus on what I enjoyed best – designing and installing landscapes.  My community was running out of areas for me to create new ones.  Sadly, the area above was one I did not get to before I left.

golf course

I realize that I have shown this picture in previous posts, but it was my favorite landscape that I worked on.  It is a hummingbird garden.

As I looked back on the places I worked as a horticulturist, this was my most favorite job.  I loved the people, the landscapes, the beautiful desert setting and I miss the beautiful, large trees that I would drive by each day on the golf course.

Okay, so back to the HR lady’s nail polish comment….I told her that I did wear nail polish, but that I also wore gloves when working with plants, so it wasn’t a problem.  I also wore make-up and curled my hair, which I guess was not what her picture of a horticulturist was ;^)

‘Boss’ For a Day…