Color gives order and makes planning easy, from choosing a theme for an anniversary party to identifying cardinals–both the ecclesiastical official of the Catholic Church and the bird.
Most of us have a color preference–some prefer hot colors while others pine for pastels. While we may be drawn to a main color, we will also enjoy complementary colors as well. Wildlife do too. There are main colors that attract certain wildlife, but once in the garden, they will visit other plants that suit their needs.
In doing so, Nature in all her glory has created order in a chaotic world. Colors have been “assigned” to various creatures, whether for camouflage or food, so color becomes an important element in designing a wildlife garden. Scent is not likely to rise high in the sky, so color acts as like a beacon in the night.
To attract hummingbirds, reds rule the roost. Hummingbirds are looking for the color red. In nature, red flowers hold the energy source to sustain the hummingbird for a long journey. Adding red to the garden will help bring the hummers into your garden. Once inside, they will happily sip from feeders and other colored plants that suit their needs.
As it is my nature, I took the red theme to the extreme. I wanted more hummingbirds. So when it came time to add a roof to the Love Shack, our garden house, I chose red. In the past, to add more red to the garden, I’ve included a red gazing ball and a “cracked egg”, a red bandana tied onto a shepherd’s hook holding a hummingbird feeder, and I often let my kids red wagon sit in the center of the lawn. So as not to disappoint the hummers once I lured them in, I provided plenty of nectar rich plants to suit their needs.
Some of the red (and reddish) plants I grow for the hummers are honeysuckle (Lonicera x heckrottii), bee balm (Monarda), columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Canna, Gladiolus, Salvia, cross vine (Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty’), azaleas (Rhododendron), and cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis).
Being a wildlife gardener is easy since the hot colors that attract wildlife, like red does for the hummingbird, are also attractive to me.
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Helen’s book, Gardening with Confidence–50 ways to adding style for personal creativity is due out this fall.