Image by ehoyer via Flickr

Until the other day, I’d never seen a Hummingbird in our yard. It’s not that we don’t try to attract them, we have lots of feeders and flowers, but because my hubby likes very orderly flowers and Hummingbirds like messy ones, our garden just wasn’t doing the job.  I’ve finally convinced the hubs, a huge bird lover, that it’s time to let go and plant some flowers that will attract both hummingbirds and butterflies.  It also means he has to cut back on his use of pesticides (yes, I’m pro-green and organic, he’s not).

I’ve been researching what plants to put into our garden here near Seattle (zone 8) that will do the job. By far the one that comes up most is the Butterfly Bush.  Sadly, it’s classified as an invasive weed here but it’s not illegal to buy,  yet!  So, I’ve purchased seeds on eBay as well as some other flowers that should work out well.  I haven’t planted seeds since the kids were little so I’m a little rusty, but the investment in seeds was less than $10, so I figured I’d go for it.  Still, I’m hoping for success so please, wish me luck!

Here’s what I’ll be planting:

Butterfly Bush Nanho Purple – Butterfly Bush for smaller gardens!

Compact branched butterfly bush, well-branched to 5-6′ x 4-6′, in sun to part shade, with blueish-purple flowers in 4-10″ long dense clusters, blooms August to September. Great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, and suited to smaller gardens. Perennial in Zones 5-10.

Fringed Bleeding Heart(Dicentra eximia)

The Fringed Bleeding Heart or Eastern Bleeding Heart has beautiful fern-like dark-green foliage with stunning heart-shaped pink flowers. The elegant blooms dangle above the leaves from spring until frost and unlike the common Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis), this variety does not die down in summer – in our garden it is as beautiful in fall as it is in spring. It is an easy plant to care for and a great attraction for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. An excellent addition to the shade garden, it can also be grown in full sun if kept well-watered. It grows to only about two feet high with equal spread and is quite hardy from Zones 3-9.  I picked these because as a girl I used to wander in the woods across the street and Bleeding Hearts grew wild there along with Lily of the Valley.  I thought they were magical!

Whirligig Zinnias (Zinnia elegans)

Mixed blooms to 5 inches across, in brilliant shades of pink, yellow, white and peach, with many small petals. Thrives in sunny areas. Ideal for annual for the beginner (me!).  A second sowing in mid-summer, ensures continued flowering and often has less powdery mildew problems than earlier sowings.  Grows to 18″.

Wild Petunias (Ruellia humilis)

A drought-tolerant prairie native, with delightful small lavender blue petunia flowers for a long time in mid summer. Compact (great in pots!) and very easy to grow. Seeds in well. Great choice for a height-restricted meadow. Found in dry open woods and prairies Pennsylvania to Indiana, south to Alabama.  A natural hummingbird attraction & grows 2-3 feet.  I don’t live anywhere near Pennsylvania or Alabama, here’s hoping these grow here!  For less than $2, I’ll chance it, they’re gorgeous!

Bi~colored  Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

The ultimate butterfly attractors, these 7-10 foot perennials produce graceful, long, large, fragrant plumes of lilac-like flowers in many attractive shades including deep purple, bright pink and clear white. Easy to grow, it will bloom the first year if started early. Cut plants back to 12 inches in early spring before new growth begins to increase bloom and control size. Winter hardy to zone 5.   Oops, not winter hardy in my area, but I’ll chance it.  We’ve had the most mild winters here lately.  If it doesn’t make it, it only cost me $1.26 to find out.

I can’t wait to receive the seeds and get them started.  April is perfect planting time around here (usually).