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Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies to Your Backyard : Watch Your Garden Come Alive With Beauty on the Wing

In her newest book for Rodale, the irrepressible Sally Roth zeroes in on one of North America’s best-loved backyard birds-the hummingbird-and on the beautiful, delicate insects that are all the rage among nature enthusiasts-butterflies.

Becoming a dual hummingbird/butterfly watcher couldn’t be more natural for backyard gardeners and nature lovers because both of these types of winged creatures are attracted to beautiful nectar flowers. Sally Roth is a passionate gardener, and she shares all her best recommendations on the perfect flowers to plant to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. She has even included her original garden designs especially appealing to hummingbirds and butterflies, including an herb garden for butterflies, a red-hot garden for hummingbirds, and a $10 garden for butterflies (you can plant it for less than $10). And, of course, all of Sally’s advice is all-organic!

There’s lots more you can do to attract and preserve butterflies and hummingbirds besides plant flowers, so Sally shares plenty of great tips and techniques for:

* Using and maintaining nectar feeders
* Setting up hummingbird misters and making butterfly mud puddles
* Attracting a wider range of butterflies by offering special foods other than nectar
* Providing nesting sites and nest materials for hummingbirds
* Understanding and observing butterfly life cycles
* Choosing and using equipment for watching and photographing butterflies and hummingbirds

Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Backyard includes Sally’s unique field guide to identifying hummingbirds and butterflies. No stuffy scientific lingo here. Sally’s writing is light and entertaining throughout her descriptions of each lovely hummingbird and butterfly, and she tells it as she sees it in describing the sometimes less-than-lovely looks of caterpillars. Sally also lists favorite nectar flowers for each type of butterfly and hummingbird.This accessible, comprehensive volume will answer any and all questions about the visiting habits of hummingbirds and butterflies. Which flowers attract butterflies? Why do hummingbirds fly toward the color red? What’s the role of water in attracting these revelatory creatures across the garden’s boundary? The book opens with a chapter called “The Basics,” which explains where and when hummingbirds and butterflies tend to emerge and their migration patterns, climate preferences, and life cycles. Later chapters include “Tempting Butterflies with Treats” and “Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden Designs.” It concludes with a series of clear drawings of various species and their identifying characteristics, favored plants, range, and habitat. Writer Sally Roth is a natural guide to this flying world, and although her text contains reams of information, it never seems complicated or overwhelming. Well organized with illuminating sidebars and remarkable close-up photographs–a mother hummer feeding her young in their tiny nest–Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Backyard will help you turn your garden into a destination for these miraculous guests. –Emily White

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Tags: Attracting, Beauty, Butterflies, Wing, Backyard:, Alive, Hummingbirds, Watch, Garden, Come


  1. merrymousies says:

    Delightful! I received this for Christmas and have read it three times since then, referring to it constantly as I build our new hummingbird/butterfly friendly backyard. Sally Roth has changed the way I garden – her relaxed style, her obvious pleasure in her subject, the wonderful photographs, great descriptions of hummingbirds, butterflies and the plants to sustain them, have made organic gardening accessible and understandable. I have always had a no-spray garden, but always felt some distress when things started getting chewed, as will happen. Now I look eagerly for the first signs of ‘munching’ on the passiflora I just planted, hoping for some fritillary action. Host plants are now mixed in with the nectar flowers – and I can’t wait to see a monarch caterpillar on the milkweed! Thanks, Sally! I have hung up the big giant strawberry feeder with pride!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good reference This is a super resource. It has great info on both the host and nectar plants of butterflies, talks to the different needs of hummingbirds and the plants they like, how to set up the garden to be most inviting. There are full chapters on things like “the lure of water”, “the shletering garden”, garden designs, butterfly & hummingbird behavior, etc. There’s a section on hummingbird feeders as well as butterfly feeders (rotting fruit – they love it!) It’s a great into to the lives of butterflies and hummingbirds, explaining the cycles they go through and their needs and has really straightforward info/ideas on how to create the habitat that will be right for them. The photographs of the caterpillars, butterflies and hummingbirds (even one feeding young in a nest) are fantastic. It also tells (a little bit) about how caterpillars overwinter. Really one of the best books I’ve seen on the topic – glad I bought it – its a lot of fun! I highly recommend it for anyone looking to set up a garden to attract these folks or augment an existing garden. Build it and they will definitely come! We’ve had great succeses!

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