My neighbor Jake and I were out walking our dogs together on a warm spring afternoon. Jake is in his mid-thirties and has owned a house in the neighborhood since he graduated college. He loves to work on it and was finally getting around to the yard after a decade of working on the interior. The yard was simply covered in grass.
“I don’t know what to do with my yard,” he said. “All I’ve done in the past decade is planted a birch tree, put in a couple of bird feeders, and built a shed,” he said. “I’m thinking of putting some hardscaping in.”
“Hmm, that’s one idea,” I said. “Do you like hummingbirds?”
“Yeah, I love all birds,” he said.
“Perfect,” I said.
If you’ve never gardened before, planting and tending ANY flora can be daunting. Friends and family new to the gardening scene may not know the difference between native and non-native plants or be able to identify pollinators. With the overwhelming information available online about the above topics, it can be helpful to introduce new gardeners to new ideas slowly and in a way that they can relate to.
One way to do this is to help newcomers plan their yard with hummingbirds in mind. Who doesn’t like hummingbirds?! They are considered the most efficient of the bird pollinators. Depending on the region where you live, help your friend research what hummingbird-friendly flowers will grow well in their garden.
In Colorado, where I live, a great “gateway” native plant that attracts hummingbirds is columbines. The Rocky Mountain Columbine, pictured here, is the Colorado State Flower. While they can only be found in Colorado, there are many other Columbine varieties from which to choose.
This is perfect for new gardeners because they have probably already heard of it and can possibly even identify it. Another fantastic trait of columbines is that they reseed themselves and your new gardener will be rewarded with more gorgeous blooms for both pollinators and people to enjoy every year.
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