Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. They are the only bird with the ability to hover and fly backward. Watching them dart from flower to flower is relaxing and interesting. Children are fascinated with hummingbirds. Attracting them to your garden is easy when you build a hummingbird garden room.
A garden room is a part of the yard that is set apart from the other areas. Hardscape such as walls or fencing can be used, but creating a feel of separation through planting and landscaping is preferred.
Hummingbirds are found in almost every part of the United States. They are attracted to red flowers but bright pink, fuchsia, violet and purple work equally well. Hummingbirds prefer flowers high in nectar and they seek out trumpet shaped flowers or those that have a long “throat”. Specialized feeders designed for hummingbirds will attract them to your garden.
Find an area of your yard that can be seen from the house and that is easily accessible. Plan the hummingbird garden to include a bench, a pathway, trellises and a water source (like a fountain or pond). The space does not have to be huge, but it should be large enough for hummingbirds to access flowers and feeders without feeling threatened by visitors.
Draw out your garden. The main seating area should be across the path from the main feeding area. Triangular garden designs and square ones work well for a hummingbird garden room. If using a triangle, place the water feature in one corner, the bench along one side ending at the water feature and the feeding area along the other side – ending at the water feature. The pathway should come in from the third side of the triangle facing the water. If using a square shape design, the garden room will have 4 corner gardens with a water feature in the center area.
The water feature can be a small gazing pool, pond or fountain. A bubbling table top fountain placed on a pedestal works well in small spaces. Gardens where children visit can have a trickling fountain that falls into a decorative rock or gravel bed, thus eliminating a drowning hazard. It is the sound of water that birds find attractive. Use a solar powered pump if an electrical outlet is not close by.
The seating area can be a standard park bench or something more unique. Bentwood furniture adds a country, informal feel to the garden. Cement or stone features create a modern look. Wrought iron brings a Victorian charm to the hummingbird garden room. Place the seating so that the feeding area is visible. Include spaces for a few plants in the seating area. Potted plants work well, low growing ground covers are another good choice.
Along the back of the feeding area place trellises tall enough to hold a couple of vines. Trumpet vines and clematis are good choices. Trumpet vines are usually scarlet red and clematis come in a variety of colors and vining habits. Install poles or hangers for hummingbird feeders. Include a hanging planter or two of fuchsia plants. The rest of the feeding area can include pots of New Guinea Impatiens, Monarda didyma (butterfly weed), petunias and other flowers in the red to purple color range. Create interest with plants for the garden. Add a shrub or small tree to provide cover.
Pathways can set the entire tone of the garden room. Brick and cobblestone lend a formal feel to the garden. Stepping stones, earthen paths, straw and other natural material give an informal country feel. Straw or heavily mulched paths mute sound and create a peaceful, quiet garden room.
Mulch the garden with natural mulch like cypress or shredded wood. Using mulch reduces weeds and helps the garden retain moisture. Natural materials gradually break down and replace lost nutrients in the soil. Cedar mulch will deter insects.
Although hummingbirds are not active at night, you can still enjoy the garden room in the evening and after dark with the addition of lighting. Add a few LED solar lights to the path and seating area for safety.
Decorative solar lights, such as those shaped like hummingbirds can be added to create interest and whimsy during the day and evening hours.
Adding a hummingbird garden room to your yard creates a place to relax and enjoy nature. Adults will find sitting in the garden room a great stress reliever and children will enjoy observing and learning about the hummingbirds.
Other gardening articles you may enjoy:
A Guide to Garden Torches
Controlling Insects in Your Garden
The Basics of Xeriscaping