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  • Neils lunceford

Bringing Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Hummingbirds can bring a garden to life. Several species of hummingbirds visit Summit County every summer. If they’re not visiting your yard – or if you want to attract more – you can plant flowers and shrubs to entice them.

Hummingbirds usually feed on nectar and insects and are attracted to bright colors – especially red. The more nectar, insects and color you have in your yard, the more likely hummingbirds will become frequent visitors.

The first thing many people do to lure hummingbirds is to hang a feeder or two. (Hang several, out of sight of each other, to avoid competition between the birds.) While this can be successful, situating your feeder near or in a garden filled with the birds’ favorite flowers can create a haven for them.

There is a wide range of plants you can choose for your hummingbird garden -- annuals, perennials and shrubs -- and they flower in a variety of colors.

Among the hummingbirds’ favored annual flowers are salvias, nasturtium, fuchsia, petunias, and snapdragons. You can plant the annuals in containers around your deck or patio, or in your garden beds with perennials and shrubs.

Their favorite perennials include Native plants such as Indian Paintbrush, Rocky Mountain and Western Red Columbine, Scarlet Gilia, Beebalm and Rocky Mountain Penstemon, and introduced-species including Bleeding Heart, Lupine, Salvia, Coral Bells, Foxglove and Delphinium.

The high-altitude shrubs they like are Honeysuckles and red-flowering Gooseberry and Currants.

Try to choose plants that flower at different times in the summer, as a continuing display of flowers will keep hummingbirds around all season. It’s helpful also to include a reliable water source in your garden, according to the Wild Birds Unlimited Web site.

Avoid using pesticides in your garden. Not only do insecticides kill the insects hummingbirds eat, but they can also weaken and, ultimately, kill the birds.

Once you make your garden a haven for hummingbirds, you, too, may find it irresistible.

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