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Hummingbirds are a wonderful addition to any garden space.  They provide beauty and entertainment for young and old alike.  Attracting and keeping hummingbirds in the area requires more than just putting a feeder out.  It requires creating a hummingbird friendly environment that is pesticide-free and full of flowers that bloom all season long.

Hummingbirds are attracted to brightly colored blooms that are tube or trumpet shaped.  These birds are attracted to red but also can be found foraging on other brightly colored blooms.  The most important part to consider when picking blooming plants is that they need to be nectar-rich food sources.

When thinking about flowering plants and hummingbirds, the first plant that comes to mind is the cardinal flower.  This plant produces a red tube-shaped flower but it is not long lasting.  Another plant that comes to mind is bee balm.  Again the flowers attract hummingbirds but only for part of the growing season. 

To create a more inviting hummingbird garden or habit, plant a diverse selection of flowering plants that includes annuals and perennials.  Planting a varied selection will create a never-ending supply of flowers and nectar.  This selection includes zinnias, common milkweed, hollyhock, Mexican sunflower, sedum verbena bonariensis, swamp milkweed, joe-pye-weed, globe amaranth, mistleflower, phlox, purple coneflower, New England aster, goldenrod, sweet pea, autumn sage, scarlet sage, butterfly weed, and butterfly bush.  Herbs and edible flowers that attract hummingbirds include nasturtium, rosemary, and borage.

When designing the garden space group plants together to increase visual impact not only for human interest but also for the hummingbirds.  Hummingbirds find food not only through the color they see but also by what they smell.  Grouping together makes it easier for the birds to see and intensifies the smell.

Also, create the hummingbird garden so that it borders woodlands and/or meadows.  These types of environments are where hummingbirds build their nests.  They are more likely to nest near the plant material that provides them with nectar and the insects that they eat.  In addition to nesting areas,  hummingbirds need a water source.  A simple misting system or garden sprinkler is all that is needed.  The birds will drink the water that is on the plant material.

If you are a gardener without a garden you can still attract hummingbirds.  Many plants that attract hummingbirds can be planted in planters and hanging baskets.  Simply design miniature versions of what would be in a traditional hummingbird garden in a container. If using a hanging basket, make sure not to hang the basket to close to a window.  This will prevent the hummingbird from flying into the window and injuring itself or dying.

Hummingbird feeders fit in perfect with a hummingbird garden.  The feeders can provide food in between the blooming times of the flowers but they can cause a problem.  Male hummingbirds are very territorial and will fight off other males not only from the feeders but also from the plants.  To reduce the fighting among the males, space the blooming plant material and feeders 30 feet apart.

To make food for hummingbirds is easy and only requires four cups of water and one cup of sugar.  Place the water in a saucepan and heat to boiling.  Once the water begins to boil, add the sugar and cook for three to four minutes.  Let the solution cool and pour into hummingbird feeders.  Every week clean out the hummingbird feeder with hot water and refill with fresh food.

Attracting hummingbirds to the garden space is as easy as 1,2, and 3.  One requires planting bright colored flowers that have a tubular shape in the garden space.  Two, design the garden so that it borders a natural area that can be used for nesting and mist the plant material often.  Lastly, provide a food source that will tie the hummingbirds over until the flowers begin to bloom again.

When creating a hummingbird garden and setting out feeders the gardener never has to worry about discouraging hummingbirds from migrating.  These little hummers will leave the area when it is time to leave regardless of how lush and tasty ones garden may be.

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