Hummingbird gardens are not just for the backyard. Golf courses and public parks are great places to create a hummingbird demonstration garden. Due to the availability of open space, water and plants, hummingbirds already tend to congregate in these areas. This can be taken one step further by creating a space with plant groupings, specifically meant to attract hummingbirds.
By definition, a demonstration garden is a space that is designed to showcase plants and/or attract specific wildlife. A hummingbird demonstration garden provides an oasis for hummingbirds and contributes to their conservation. An added benefit is that the garden serves as an excellent tool for educating the public, which makes them an excellent public relations tool as well.
Plant signage is an important element of the garden. The signs are relatively inexpensive and list the common name and scientific name of the plant. They draw in visitors and inspire them to create their own hummingbird garden at home. Creating a brochure that lists the plants and hummingbird species that visit the garden are also a valuable tool in promoting your demonstration garden.
Hummingbirds serve as important pollinators for many different plant species. Their diet consists of insects and nectar. A single hummingbird can consume thousand of insects and visit over 3,000 flowers. Hummingbirds are migratory in many areas. Some of the warmer climates have hummingbirds year round while more temperate climates see hummingbirds in the warmer months of the year.
There are three elements required for a hummingbird garden – adequate space, plants and access to water. The garden should be at least 700 sq. ft. and consist of four zones – trees, large shrubs, small shrubs and space. The location of the garden should be near enough for the public to observe the plants and hummingbirds. Supplemental irrigation should be available for the plants depending on the region you live in.
Trees in the garden provide shelter, nesting areas and shade for the hummingbirds. Plant selection is very important. Select flowering plants that will grow well in your particular zone and that attract hummingbirds; a simple search online will give you this information easily. When selecting plants, care should be taken that there are overlapping bloom periods so that are colorful flowers present throughout the entire growing season and will provide the hummingbirds with a long lasting supply of nectar.
Hummingbirds are territorial, so it is helpful to create different groups of flowering plants separated by large shrubs or trees. They are attracted most to red and orange trumpet-shaped flowers, although they do visit flowers of other colors. Native plant species should be used when possible since hybrids often contain little or no nectar.
A beautiful, low-maintenance garden is only one of the benefits gained by creating a demonstration garden. The presence of the garden contributes directly to the conservation of hummingbirds and provides the opportunity for people to observe them close up. They also serve as an educational tool in regards to what type of plants will attract hummingbirds. So, by creating a hummingbird demonstration garden you will reap the aesthetic and educational benefits while helping to conserve hummingbird populations.
Written by Noelle Johnson