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Attracting Beautiful Visitors — Butterflies & Hummingbirds — to Your Family's Garden

butterfly #3

Now is a great time to get your family involved and transform your garden into a place that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds so you can enjoy these visitors together.

Butterfly and hummingbird gardens provide beautiful plants (that also happen to produce nectar), offer a great learning opportunity for kids, and help replace habitats that have been lost to construction of homes, roads, and farms.

Gardens can be as small as a window box or as large as a wild untended area on your property – your winged visitors don’t really care.

Start with an area that gets at least six hours of sun, add colorful flowers and leafy “host plants” that attract egg-laying butterflies and provide food for the larvae, then sit back and watch!

It’s best to choose a variety of plants that will bloom at various times throughout the growing season, especially mid- to late summer, so you have a steady stream of visitors.

“The number one hummingbird plant is salvia black and blue; it’s awesome and it’s not even red!” says Diana Stoll, garden center manager at Planter’s Palette in Winfield (http://www.planterspalette.com/).

For information on other plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, visit Planter’s Palette’s Web site and look for these flyers: plants that attract hummingbirds (http://www.planterspalette.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/hummingbirds-plants-that-attract.pdf), annuals & herbs that attract butterflies (http://www.planterspalette.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/annuals-and-herbs-that-attract-butterflies.pdf), and perennials that attract butterflies (http://www.planterspalette.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/perennials-that-attract-butterflies.pdf).

Avoid using pesticides around butterfly and hummingbird plants, which, if ingested, could sicken or kill the insects and birds.

And, if you want to get fancy, you can always add accessories, like a butterfly or hummingbird house, or feeders.

To create your own butterfly feeder, drill a very small hole in the top of a jar (like a baby food jar) and fill it with a mixture of 10% sugar and 90% warm water. Glue some colorful fabric petals on the top of the lid. Hang your feeder in or near your butterfly garden. Change the food frequently, especially in hot weather, to avoid mold.

To build a hummingbird house, follow these directions from ehow.com: http://www.ehow.com/how_4460596_build-hummingbird-house.html.

If you get started now, you can have a yard full of butterflies and hummingbirds in no time, and they’ll stay with you throughout the growing season!

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