Ah, watching the beautiful birds and butterflies who pass through my back yard is breathtaking! I welcome them and hope that they can find sanctuary and comfort in my garden. How can you turn your garden into a more accommodating and nurturing place for birds and butterflies? Some plants are toxic to domestic animals, so the safety of our canine and feline companions will also need to be considered.
Some may want to buy a birdfeeder, but if you place feeders out for the birds they can provide as many dangers as they can benefits and can also attract rats and mice as well as predators. Instead, it’s best to use living plants to help transform your back yard into a natural bird and butterfly sanctuary.
Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, while butterflies enjoy orange, yellow, and purple plants. Butterflies start out as caterpillars, so they will munch on some of your plants-they don’t do much damage, but nevertheless, you should expect this to happen. A solution is to put in more plants so that caterpillars can feed on them while butterflies and birds enjoy the other plants. Keep in mind also that in the spring and summer, birds rely on spiders and insects to survive, so you should welcome these little critters into your garden as well.
Below are just a few plants that birds and/or butterflies can benefit from, and they are also nontoxic to our domestic animal friends.
Perennials That Attract Birds
- Beard tongue/penstemon/Jupiter’s beard
- Bubblemint (hummingbirds like them)
Shrubs That Attract Birds
- American elder
- Coralberry (hummingbirds like them)
- Golden currant (very hardy-easy to grow)
- Pyracantha (pyracantha/firethorn-has orange berries in the winter)
- Western sandcherry
- Maiden/plume grass
Trees That Attract Birds
- Mountain ash
- Evergreen trees (provide shelter for nests)
Perennials That Attract Butterflies
- Common sneezeweed
- Oregano ornamental
- Sage and thyme
Shrubs That Attract Butterflies
- Butterfly bush