By Lyndsey Fought
Gardening can seem like a big undertaking, but beginning with a small area and hearty shrubs and flowers is enough to lead you to success. Creating a small flower bed that will attracts hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies will ensure the plants’ health and add to the beauty of your outside landscaping.
How to create a small flower garden
- To begin your flower bed, plot out where you want the garden. Your plants will need moderate sunlight so they shouldn’t be too shaded — but if you put them in an area of full sun, they may wilt under the heat.
- Remember to start small. You can always add more once you know you can handle it. I would suggest beginning with a 10 by 10 foot area.
- Begin digging up your area with a shovel. Make notes on how the soil looks now so it will clue you in on how the plants will take to it and if you need to pick up soil helpers (like Miracle Grow) at the store! Completely dig the area 8-12 inches, remove large rocks, grass, and weeds from the area.
- Level the soil with the help of a hoe or a cultivator. Mix in peat moss if the soil looks dry (this will help it hold water in the future).
- Purchase your plants. Pay attention to the tags on your shrubs and flowers and plant them accordingly. To help yourself, draw up a rough sketch before you begin planting to know exactly where you need to plant what. Firm the soil around the plants after you place them. Add soil as need. Add any plant growth helper.
- Water your garden according to the plant tags. Your first watering will probably be a bit heavier than subsequent waterings.
- Create a handy list for when you should feed and water the plants. Keep in mind how much rain you’ve been getting because you may need to adjust it weekly; post it on your fridge so you don’t forget!
- Enjoy your work and your new visitors!
To Attract Bees
As you may have heard, bees have been in serious danger over the past 3 years. They have been in serious decline and whole colonies have been dying off. This is bad news for humans; our food is still pollinated mainly by bees (70% of it)! So if you are attracting bees, you’re helping the environment and our food supply. Remember: honey bees are not aggressive at all so don’t be afraid!
Plant these to attract honey bees:
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Sweet Allysum
To Attract Butterflies
In order to attract beautiful butterflies, your plants will need to be a foundation for all life stages of a butterfly, including caterpillar stage. Be sure you’re able to differentiate friendly caterpillars that will turn into lovely butterflies from caterpillars that will devour your plants —when your skills fail, just Google it.
Most butterflies are dependent on native plants, so start with plants that are native to your area. Adults are attracted to red, orange, yellow, and purple flowers with fluted flower tubes. Butterflies like to rest before and, after eating, they like sunning their wings, so provide them with some flat stones in or around your garden area.
Lastly, give them a place to “puddle” — this is where butterflies drink from damp sand to get water and minerals they need. (You can provide a decorative bowl or shell with damp but clean sandy soil.)
Plant these to attract butterflies:
- Globe thistle
- Helen’s Flower
- Butterfly Bush
- False Indigo
- Floss Flower
- Purple Coneflower
- Sweet Rocket
- Rock Cress
- Sea Holly
- Shasta Daisy
- Clove Pink
- Common Rue
To Attract Hummingbirds
The first step in attracting hummingbirds is to provide a feeder (you know, the feeders that have the red liquid in them!). It’s a good idea to get a feeder that’s wasp proof; you can find these at Lowes or Home Depot. If you haven’t had hummingbirds around at all, no worries. Hummingbirds can find a new source of food relatively easy; you’ll start seeing them within a week.
Attracting hummingbirds and other small birds will provide you with a natural insecticide because they will snatch small insects up for food! Hummingbirds love moving water, so if you have the means add a small fountain with a gentle trickle for them to drink from by the garden.
Here are plants that will attract hummers:
- Beard Tongue
- Bee Balm
- Butterfly Bush
- Cat Mint
- Cape Honeysuckle
- Clove Pink
- Coral Bells
- Coral Honeysuckle
- Desert Candle
- Flame Acanthus
- Flowering Tobacco
- Four O Clocks
- Morning Glory
- Pincushion Flower
- Red-Hot Poker
- Scarlet Sage
- Scarlet Trumpet Honeysuckle
- Summer Phlox
- Trumpet Creeper
As a rule for all of these: be wary of insecticides. That is one of the main things contributing to bees’ deaths and can easily kill butterflies and small birds. Look for all natural deterrents for actual pests.
To plant some of the vines for the hummingbirds or butterflies, install a piece of lattice behind the garden and begin weaving the vine as it grows, it will soon take to it easily.
I have too many interests and I get easily distracted, so I haven’t completed a single thing in my life. Yay, hyperboles! I have been to culinary school and I like baking cupcakes. I write the beginnings of too many novels. I am driven by ambition and delayed by perfectionism.
I would like to travel the world, learn from others, write some best sellers, and have a restaurant or bakery someday. I am a Slytherin. I like the tenth Doctor best (followed by ninth). I am too obsessed with Downton Abbey and the whole etiquette of that era. I never forget to be awesome!