Hummingbirds and Butterflies are the Best Garden Party Guests

Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly visiting my abelia border last summer. The tiny abelia flowers smell like honey, so a walk along the abelia path is a treat for all.

I never knew how much I enjoyed the birds, butterflies, bees and other creatures that visit my garden until I had the time to actually watch them. When I worked full time, I did have a long garden border on the sunny side of my house that I glanced at from time to time as I returned home after a long day in the city. In those days most of my time was spent designing gardens for other people, leaving little time to pay much attention to my own. Fast forward to a smaller house and a back yard that had only a handful of plants and a vitex tree when we moved in.

The vitex tree, with spikes of gorgeous blue blooms in mid-summer, is possibly the only thing that stayed in place when I moved to my current home, and I cut it back each March to keep it around 12 feet high. It is a veritable pollinator magnet, and hums with life for the months it is in bloom. Hummingbirds love it and seem to enjoy resting in the uppermost branches.

My current Georgia garden is only a few years old, but each season I see more and more birds and pollinators. In a few short years I’ve created a habitat where these creatures find food and shelter. Small trees and ornamental shrubs, along with perennial flowers (including some natives) attract the pollinators and birds that keep me entertained, and in turn keep things in balance by eating insects like aphids. As spring turns to summer each year, I’ve noticed that the birds stop visiting the bird feeder because they prefer to eat insects, and in my organic garden they find plenty of them.

Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’ is said to be one of best summer plants to attract hummingbirds.
It certainly does that in my garden and I plant it where I can see them zipping around through the day.

While the plants that attract birds and pollinators will vary from region to region, I want to share a few more photos of flowers that seem to be popular with hummingbirds in particular, as well as bees and butterflies, in my zone 8 garden. Be sure to follow me on instagram @RoxannWardDesign for weekly updates from my garden. Happy Summer!

Pentas, which are considered an annual in my zone, are beloved by butterflies and hummingbirds.
A native pink penstemon, with its tubular-shaped blooms, is a good nectar source in late spring.
Orange crocosmia is popular with the hummingbirds that visit my garden several times a day to refuel.

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