Demonstration Gardens Attract Butterflies & Hummingbirds

Demonstration gardens on golf courses attract butterflies and hummingbirds while inspiring the public to create their own.

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A butterfly/hummingbird demonstration garden next to a golf course in suburban Phoenix.

Where would you expect to find a butterfly garden located?  Probably NOT next to a golf course.  But, if you take time to think about it, why not?  Golf courses often have large landscape areas surrounding the greens and fairways.  What better way to use them then to create butterfly and hummingbird demonstration gardens that ‘demonstrate’ to the public how to attract these visitors to their own gardens?

Many golf courses are certified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries which help ”people enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide.”  Increasingly, you will find landscape areas around golf courses, filled with plants that benefit native wildlife such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

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I was asked to design a butterfly/hummingbird garden for a golf course a few years ago, which you can read about here.  Every time I find myself near the area, I always take time to visit and see the progress of the garden, which is now 2 years old and is growing beautifully.

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Purple trailing lantana, damianita, firecracker penstemon and Baja fairy duster in bloom in a southwestern demonstration garden.

Last week, I stopped by and sat on the bench, hidden beneath the trees and by the surrounding plants.  As I sat, an Anna’s hummingbird came flew just feet away from me as he was busy drinking from the flowers of Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii).Golfers appreciate the beauty and are inspired to create a smaller gardens like this in their own landscape.   The golfers and community residents are very proud of their demonstration garden and take time to show it to visitors.

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Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) adds beauty while attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds.

Pollinator gardens are becoming increasingly popular, which attract not only birds and butterflies, but bees as well with their colorful blooms.

The plants within this demonstration garden are well-known to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and caterpillars (larval plants).  In order to educate the public, plant signs in demonstration gardens are placed throughout the garden and flyers about the garden can be made available at the golf shop and online.

Demonstration gardens are a great way to rethink where to plant butterfly and hummingbird gardens.  In addition to golf courses, demonstration gardens can be created in apartment complexes, along store-fronts, parking lots or street plantings.  The more visible they are, the greater their reach in inspiring the public to create similar gardens at home.

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In the end, everyone wins – butterflies and hummingbirds are provided with food sources and habitat while people get to enjoy the beauty of the garden while observing them up close.

For help designing and creating your own demonstration garden, check out “Bird and Butterfly Garden Planning”.

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