Garden Space: Grow These Herbs to Attract Birds, Butterflies and Hummingbirds

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Illustration by Gayle Ford
This garden is designed to draw visitors of the avian persuasion.

<p>• <strong>Parsley</strong> (<em>Petroselinum crispum</em>). Plant lots of this useful biennial, both the flat-leaved and curly varieties, in full sun to part shade, and let it reseed itself from year to year. It will reach about 18 inches tall. If you’re a patient gardener, you can grow it from seed; others can start with a purchased plant.</p>
<p>• <strong>Dill</strong> (<em>Anethum graveolens</em>). This reseeding annual will grow to about 3 feet. Sow seed in full sun in the spot where it is to grow–it has a taproot and doesn’t transplant well.</p>
<p>• <strong>Milkweed</strong> (<em>Asclepias tuberosa</em>). This hardy perennial, also called butterfly weed, will reach about 2 feet and show off brilliant orange or red flowers. Grow it in full sun.</p>
<p>• <strong>Passionflower</strong> (<em>Passiflora incarnata</em>). Hardy to Zone 7, this flowering vine can grow in partial afternoon shade and starts easily from cutting or seed. Grow it on a fence or let it scramble across an open area.</p>
<p>• <strong>Rue</strong> (<em>Ruta graveolens</em>). This hardy perennial grows in 3-foot mounds and stays green through the winter. It can be started from seed, cutting or a division from a friend’s garden. Caution: Some people get a rash from handling the leaves.</p>
<p>• <strong>Artemisia</strong> (<em>Artemisia ‘</em>Powis Castle’ or ‘Valerie Finnis’). This hardy perennial forms a lovely silvery mound in the garden, to about 2 ½ feet. Start it from cuttings or division and avoid the more aggressive artemisias, such as ‘Silver King’.</p>
<p>• <strong>Butterfly bush</strong> (<em>Buddleia davidii</em>). A tall shrub with arching branches, butterfly bush comes in a wide variety of flower colors. It is hardy in Zones 5-9 and blooms heavily in a sunny location. Grow it from cuttings.</p>
<p>• <strong>Goldenrod</strong> (<em>Solidago</em> spp.). Garden-worthy varieties of this cheerful yellow native, some of which stay to about 3 feet, are available at nurseries. Grow this hardy perennial in full sun.</p>
<p>• <strong>Vitex</strong> (<em>Vitex agnus-castus</em>). This fast-growing deciduous tree or shrub with showy purple flowers starts easily from cuttings. Grow it in full sun to light shade.</p>
<p>• <strong>Salvias</strong> (<em>Salvia</em> spp.). Many annuals and perennials in this wide-ranging genus are suitable for the butterfly and hummingbird garden, especially those with red tubular flowers, such as S. coccinea, S. greggii and S. elegans, known as pineapple sage.</p>
<p>• <strong>Yarrow</strong> (<em>Achillea millefolium</em>). This 3-foot hardy perennial can be started from seed or division. Grow it in full sun, where it can spread by runners but is easily controllable.</p>
<p>• <strong>Purple coneflower</strong> (<em>Echinacea purpurea</em>). A garden classic, purple coneflower grows about 2 to 3 feet tall in full sun. Start this hardy perennial from seed or try some of the newer flower colors now available at nurseries.</p>
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<em>Kathleen Halloran is a contributing editor living and gardening in beautiful Austin, Texas.</em>
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<strong>Garden Spaces: Attract Birds, Butterflies and Hummingbirds</strong>
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