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Northwest Gardening: Hummingbird Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Want to attract hummingbirds to your Northwest garden using flowers instead of feeders? Here's what to plant.

 Watching a hummingbird gather nectar is an unforgettable sight.

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden means providing year-round color, nectar and water. You don't need to keep up with a feeder. In my garden I've gone natural using plants that provide nectar from early spring until late fall.

 Flowers of blue pulmonaria appear in late winter.

Early-Spring Hummingbird Plants
I love the blue and pink tubular blooms of pulmonaria or lungwort almost as much as the hummingbirds do. The flowers appear in late winter, when the birds and I are searching for color. Other early-spring blooms to nourish hummingbirds include native flowering shrubs, such as currant and quince, and the bright, bold and early blossoms of hellebores.

 Orange begonias are just one species of orange-colored plants that attract hummingbirds.

Summer Hummers
The color orange always attracts hummingbirds, so I plant crocosmia, lilies and nasturtium for waves of fiery color. This past summer the biggest hit for my dive-bombing diners was a dragon-wing begonia called 'Bonfire'. Not only does this bright and floriferous bloomer handle both sun and shade, it resists disease, pest and drought - and you can overwinter the tubers year after year.

 Fuchsias and pink geranium make for a striking, hummingbird-attracting color combination.

 Autumn Fuel
Hardy fuchsias are the staples of the late-summer and autumn diet for hummingbirds. I group my fuchsias in a raised bed near the patio. Then I can just sit back and enjoy the feeding frenzy. The bright-pink geraniums are spots of color that catches the eye of every hummingbird for miles around.

 The streams of my wall fountain provide a hummingbird shower that entertains guests.

Most fun of all is watching hummingbirds enjoy my wall fountain, positioned near the front door. Even my guests get to enjoy watching hummingbirds shower in the water streams.

I really tried to get a photo of my hummingbirds at play in this fountain, but they just insist on moving very quickly. Maybe I should pose the slow-moving turkeys in this fountain instead.

So what plants do the hummingbirds most love in your garden?