I wrote an earlier post where I showed pictures of how I built my hummingbird garden. I started out with maybe half native plants, half non-native. I have since learned that native plants attract and support wildlife SO much better than non-natives that I have been changing out plants in my hummingbird garden over the last two seasons. Let’s look at some before and after photos…
The above picture shows the original plants. The prominent plant in the lower left corner is a brugmansia hybrid from South America. I mail-ordered this plant along with several others. There is also some red and yellow lantana that I purchased at a big box store.
In this picture you can see a serviceberry tree and a dogwood tree that I also mail-ordered. The serviceberry tree (Amelanchier arborea) is native to North America and to Texas. I could not find one locally, but had researched it and knew that it would be a good wildlife tree, especially because it would provide berries and nectar for the birds. Well, it didn’t do too well and it was mostly my fault. It really prefers acidic soils but I planted it anyway, even though I know that the soil in my area is alkaline. I also planted it too deep which makes it difficult for the tree to get enough oxygen. Lastly, the lawn-mowing company I used (past-tense) weed-whacked the base pretty bad before I put edging around it. My neighbor, we’ll call him Mr. Green-Thumb, has adopted the tree (we dug it up and potted it) and will try to nurse it back to health.
The dogwood tree (Cornus florida) to the right and further back in the picture is also a North American and Texas native. It was beautiful, even as small as it was, until its first summer when the full western sun burned it up. I was such a dumb-butt. This tree also likes acidic soil, but REALLY needs some partial shade and a northern or eastern exposure. Most of the dogwood trees I’ve seen while hiking nature trails are understory trees to larger oaks, elms and pecans. I moved it to my backyard where the conditions were much better, but alas, it did not survive.
Moving on, the pictures below show how my hummingbird garden looks today.
Ok, front and center is a circle planted with Scabiosa columbaria, which I bought because I learned about it at a class called ”Perennial Power” at the Dallas Arboretum. It was readily available and has been beautiful and popular with butterflies. Right now it has already bloomed once and is gearing-up for a second bloom, as it does all summer and into the fall. I didn’t know until TODAY (not kidding) that this plant is not native to North America. Does it seem strange that I feel heartbroken about this? Well, that’s the only way I can describe it. But wait a minute…I am thinking of the TONS of native wildflowers and perennials that I could plant there instead. Maybe even more beautiful and dependable! And that would be a small thing for me to do to give back a patch of earth to it’s natural flora for the benefit of wildlife. ~big, determined sigh~
The large green bushes overflowing to the left of the picture are native Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and those shrubs are great! They bloom a little later in the summer and hummingbirds go nuts for them. This shrub also reseeds freely, and I have little volunteers here and there. They are easy to control if you want, and easy to share - even better
I’ll go over more plants in my hummingbird garden in the future. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visiting beautiful, native, Flame Acanthus.