By Lori Athey: Backyard Habitat Coordinator
The Delaware Nature Society Native Plant Sale (May 1- 4) theme this year is “Inspired Plant Combinations: Create Your Garden Masterpiece”. Got a spot in your garden that needs some POW? We can help!
When considering buying new plants, first note the light and soil moisture conditions where you want to plant. Second, consider how much space (height and width) you want the new plant to fill. Our plant sale catalog gives you all the information you need to make the right plant selections. If you are starting from scratch with a new bed, you will want a combination of plants…maybe a small tree, a few shrubs and some groundcovers. If you are adding plants to an existing bed think about what is already there, what type of garden interest are you trying to achieve, and how will your new plant fill that role?
Back to that POW! One of the most exciting wildlife experiences in the garden is when you have a visiting Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Below is a list of my favorite plants to attract the Hummingbirds. They all flower in shades of red, orange & deep coral pink. How is that for POW?
*Wild Columbine/Aqualegia canadensis blooms April-May, perennial
*Fire Pink/Silene virginica blooms April-May, perennial
*Red Buckeye/Aesculus pavia blooms in May, small tree or large shrub
*Trumpet Honeysuckle/Lonicera sempervirens blooms May to frost, woody vine, hummers prefer the red and coral selections
*Indian Pink/Spigelia marlandica blooms June-August and sporadically to frost, perennial
*Beebalm/Monarda red selections bloom June-July, perennial
*Turk’s Cap Lily/Lilium superbum blooms in July, perennial bulb
*Plumleaf Azalea/Rhododendron prunifolium blooms July-August, large shrub
*Cardinal Flower/Lobelia cardinalis blooms July-September, perennial
*Trumpet Vine/Campsis radicans orange selections bloom July-September, woody vine
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive in Delaware in mid-April and are residents through the summer. In the fall, you will see an increase in their numbers since young birds are around and fall migrants are visiting our area. By October, they are virtually all gone with the exception of a straggler or two. Knowing this, you can plan to have a succession of blooms for them. Add a sugar-water feeder to your garden for supplemental food, and be sure to clean the feeder regularly so that the water doesn’t spoil and make them sick. Boil a solution of 4 parts water and 1 part sugar so that it keeps in the fridge longer. Replace the solution at least once per week, and at the same time, clean the feeder with a 10% bleach/water solution. This way, your garden hummingbirds will be happy and healthy. Additionally, if you really want to spoil them, you can provide a “mister” that creates a fine mist of water that hummingbirds love to bathe in.
Plant enough of the perennials to create a good-sized patch, so you will get their attention. Vines should be planted on a mature deciduous tree (like an old Wild Cherry) or a very sturdy structure. For additional interest in the fall and winter, add a few Winterberry Hollies (Ilex verticillata both male and female) or Red Osier Dogwoods (Cornus serecia) and underneath it all, plant with Green-and-Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum).By adding a few of these native plants, your yard should be humming with activity all summer long. Excited for spring yet!!!