Hummingbird Attractor and Support Garden | Volunteer Gardener

– Well Chris, we’re
standing in your front yard which is just an incredible
garden of flowers and edibles and
herbs that you have for the winged creatures that
are all flying all around us. Tell me a little bit about
how long this has kind of taken you to reclaim
it back from, you said, original turf when you moved in. – [Chris] Well, it
used to all be lawn, everything you see here. This was all grass. Pretty much we saw a couple
of hummingbirds show up about six to eight years
ago, somewhere in there. And had a couple of feeders out. They showed up, every year
we’ve seen a couple more. So I made the decision
to turn the entire lawn into what you see
now, a basically a hummingbird, butterfly garden. – [Matt] It’s almost
like a sanctuary, I guess.
– [Chris] Exactly. – [Matt] Ever since then
you we’re just kind of bit by the bug and just continued
offering a safe habitat and food sources and
they just came in droves. – [Chris] Exactly. And they haven’t stopped. Every year they keep showing up and the numbers
go up every year. The migratory patterns,
when they show up, they know where
their food source is. So they fly here and they
stay here every year. – [Matt] Do you feel
like you’re kind of, even though you might not
have the data tracking on it, but do you feel like you have
some of the same families and herds and kind
of swarms, I guess, I don’t even know
what you call them, coming back to the
same feeding ground, nesting grounds in the summer? – Absolutely, absolutely. I can tell because they’re more
tame than most hummingbirds. First thing I hear from
people, I come over, they say you can get very
close to the hummingbirds. Normally you can’t do that. So I’m, that tells me they’re
pretty much the same ones, or they’re used to
people, they’re used
to this environment. – [Matt] Gotcha. – [Chris] There’s always
somebody walking around if it’s not me,
it’s somebody else. – [Matt] What kind of
types of hummingbirds, can I ask, as far
as the varieties? – [Chris] We get the
ruby-throated hummingbird. That’s pretty much
all we’ll have here, is the ruby-throated. Occasionally get the rufous,
that shows up in the fall. I have yet to see
one here but it’s the only other hummingbird
that’ll pass through. They travel much further
north than the ruby-throated. And so as they’re migrating
back, if you leave a feeder out in the fall,
you might get lucky. And see one of them,
other hummingbirds. The flowers will attract them. The flowers is what you need
to really bring them in. When they find a yard that
has flowers that they like, they will, eventually,
check out every flower in the nearby area,
including the feeders. And when they find a feeder, usually they’ll stick
around after that. As long as you
keep it out there, that’s where
consistency comes in. As long as you
keep it out there, it’s very important
to keep it clean. You wanna make sure there’s
always food for them and as long as they have that, they will continue to show up. – [Matt] Move on. – [Chris] Exactly. – [Matt] So the flowers
almost kind of serve as a big billboard,
big X target. They’re coming down, looking
for more and find the food and that’s how you’ve really
kept these families around. – Yes, absolutely, yes. – Fantastic. Well I’d love to take a
walk around a little bit and kind of talk about some
of the most popular plantings in the garden. – Sure, of course. – All right. So Chris, as we’re kind of
walking around the garden, I’m just amazed by the
number of hummingbirds that are just
swarming all around to the different plants and
to the different feeders that you have here,
it’s just incredible. I wanna talk a little bit
more about some of the flowers that you’ve used
to kind of act as that big sign post to
them and attract them in and use them as feed. Can you tell me a little bit
about this guy right here? What are we looking at? – Well this is a tithonia
or a Mexican sunflower. Very attractive, not
only to the hummingbirds, but to butterflies, bees. They love this plant. What makes it even more special,
is that you can grow this in any type of soil. They can even take
part shade too. – [Matt] Wow, huge. – You can plant this anywhere. Gigantic and you start them
by seed, early in the year. Whether you start it
inside or direct sow it. It’ll be this big before the
end of the growing season. – What I find fascinating,
you were telling me here is that there’s a lot
of maybe misconception that hummingbirds
were only attracted to tubular flower-type
plants and if I wanted to attract hummingbirds, I gotta
only plant tubular flowers, but you’re saying that’s
not the case in this way. – [Chris] No, they
love this flower. They like this,
they love zinnias, the celosia they’re
very fond of. It’s not just the
tubular flowers. They see in ultraviolet. People can’t see ultraviolet
light, but hummingbirds can. So can bees and butterflies. So this is gonna look a
lot more brilliant to them, than it does us. Not just red tubular flowers, but other flowers have
the same properties. – [Matt] Orange, blues. – [Chris] Exactly. – [Matt] Gotcha. – [Chris] And there may
be a higher proportion of red tubular flowers that have good ultraviolet
reflective properties, but some others do too and it’s not all just
red tube flowers. – [Matt] Fascinating. So you almost kind of
get secondary benefits, not only good as cut
flowers, for use inside, but what you’re saying,
this is also covered in swallow-tailed
butterflies, you know, looking around here
without scaring them away. Just beautiful swallow-tails
along with bumblebees, honey bees, hummingbirds. So it’s just a broad
range of attractants. – [Chris] Yes, absolutely. – [Matt] Along with the tithonia
here, out in the garden, we also have some blue
lobelia, you mentioned celosia. – [Chris] Those are very nice,
very popular, very colorful. Not only attractive
to the hummingbirds, but it’s good to look at. Easy to grow, another
plant that’s not very picky about soil, almost effortless. – [Matt] Gotcha. Reseeds itself almost from-
– [Chris] Every year. – [Matt] How about any
other plants in the garden that you’ve noticed
that have been food? – Well not so much food. One thing is the okra here,
this is a burgundy okra. It turns out that the
hummingbirds very much like to use these perches. And it gives them
a good view point. You’ve got these
hibiscus flowers here and you also get
okra on top of it. So it’s a win win win. – It’s a food source, almost
like a hummingbird hotel for their stay, you
know, staycation and then off to the
next food source. – Absolutely, yes. – [Matt] We’ve got
black and blue salvia. – [Chris] Yeah, that’s a great
one for your hummingbirds. It’s almost magical the
effect is has on it. – [Matt] Now that’s a
tubular dark type flower. – [Chris] It is, yes it is, yes. – [Matt] And so Chris, it’s
obvious that not only do the hummingbirds enjoy the
flowers in your garden, but they’re also
very much attracted to your feeders as well
and you kind of see that just from what’s
in the background here, they’re absolutely just
swarming on this feeder. Just chirping away, you
know, it sounds amazing. Tell me a little bit
about best practices and what you found in
your feeding solution and how you manage that. – [Chris] Here in Tennessee
we’ll have 90 degree weather, lot of humidity. That’s a recipe
for mold, mildew, things you don’t
want in your feeder. So it’s very important
to have a clean feeder. Don’t let that
sugar water go bad, replace it every two,
three days, if you can. If not, just take it in. Don’t replace, just
make some fresh. One part sugar, four parts
water, is what you make. Dyes have been found not to
be good for hummingbirds. Not even (mumbles)
dyes, no dye at all. Just sugar water,
that’s all you need. – [Matt] Along with
placing the feeders throughout the garden, you just have them
here on shepherd hooks, they’re spaced throughout, no
really rhyme or reason to it. Just kind of implanted
next to your garden for best viewing practices. – [Chris] That’s the
number one right there. So you can see them all. Another thing too, you’ll
notice the songbird feeders are kind of outside
of this area. – [Matt] Yeah, you
mentioned something about a little
competition, or something. – [Chris] Yeah, exactly. The hummingbirds get very
aggressive this time of year, when they’re migrating. They’re competing for the food. If you watch them, you’ll
see they lot of fighting. – [Matt] Amongst themselves? – [Chris] Amongst
themselves for the food. – [Matt] And with
songbirds, you said. – [Chris] And with
the songbirds. They will chase away cardinals, they will chase away finches, I’ve seen them chase hawks. They will chase anything. – [Matt] Wow. – [Chris] So that’s why I
have all the birds set out to the side, so it’s
not just for the looks, it’s for that reason too. To keep the songbirds happy. – [Matt] Gotcha. So you’re kind of separating
your songbird feed from your hummingbird feeder. – [Chris] Exactly.
– [Matt] I had no idea that that was the case, but
they’re so cute and cuddly, but they can get a
little territorial
when it comes to food. – [Chris] Absolutely, yes. – [Matt] And then along with the gardening aspect of it, I could tell you were talking, you have a similar
passion in photography. Tell me a little bit about
that and how that has come into play around your home here. – [Chris] A lot of that
ties directly in with this. I like to do a lot
of macro photography. And so I’m having somewhere
where I can walk out the door and just start taking
pictures, is nice. – [Matt] Macro
photography meaning? – [Chris] Very tiny. Very tiny, very
tiny photographs. – [Matt] Close ups?
– Exactly. Very close ups. Half inch or smaller. So on the flowers, you’ll
see you got not only the hummingbirds, lot
of bees, lot of insects, lot of small things
that you don’t notice until you start
walking around here. – [Matt] Being quiet
and standing up close is some, I imagine, some
of the best practices for getting that perfect shot. – [Chris] Exactly, exactly. And the songbirds make
for great photography too. – [Matt] What time of
the year and hummingbirds are, I guess, more
summer oriented. You were saying songbirds
are more different season. – [Chris] In the fall. In the fall, they’ll show up. – [Matt] The hummingbirds,
they’ll be here till maybe mid September, then
they’ll start tapering off. Lot of times the last one we
tell to go home in October. Starts getting a little
frosty so we have to take the last feeder down and say
it’s time, time to go home. – [Matt] Time to
go, close up shop. – [Chris] Exactly. – [Matt] Now where can
viewers go to learn a little bit more
about your photography? You mentioned
Instagram as a source. – [Chris] Yeah, Instagram. I’m on Instagram
as birdsbugsplants. – [Matt] There’s no and. Just birdsbugsplants. – [Chris] Birdsbugsplants. – [Matt] Fantastic. I just wanna thank you
so much for your time and attention to your garden. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] For inspiring
garden tours, growing tips and garden projects,
visit our website at,
or on YouTube at the VolunteerGardener
channel. And like us on Facebook. (upbeat music)


  1. Amazing ! I have Hummers, Bees and some Butterflies, but this garden is spectacular ! I would LOVE to have a garden area similar one day ! Great video ! THANKS for posting this inspirational show !

  2. One time I was standing still while holding my dripping garden hose and a hummingbird came and took a drink. A fun experience.

  3. I'm on Maryland's Eastern an my hummers have been coming back for a very long time, they buzz me while outside or fly back an forth at the kitchen windows. Last yr I did have 1 I've never seen here, it was all black an very fat, thinking maybe she was close to laying eggs an didn't want to go farther? I did see that one now an then all summer, an seen it again earlier in spring. Thanks for sharing this garden as I'm going to try an get certified as well. Now I'll go check out more photos.

  4. I came up with my own way to remember the recipe for the hummingbird feed solution. Numbers often escape me, but now that I use my hand…I will never forget how to measure the sugar/water ratio that you called 1 to 4. I look at my hand & my thumb is the sugar & my other 4 fingers are the water! All fingers are the same amount & the math is no longer needed! No mistakes ever again unless I happen to lose a digit! These tiny birds have brought such joy to my backyard garden & even my dog enjoys watching them. Beautiful flowers in this guys yard.

  5. Beautiful garden and I love the birds, bees, butterflies & hummingbirds you have attracted to your garden. Thank you for sharing.

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