Archives for posts with tag: Hummingbird

The Master Gardeners of Ulster County Cornell Cooperative Extension created this garden at Ulster Community College in Stone Ridge. Donations were provided by several local businesses.Distant view of Ulster Community College garden, showing lawn, trees and flower beds

The garden is near the main entrance to the campus. It is a demonstration xeriscape garden. A xeriscape garden requires little water and conserves water use. This is achieved by selecting plants that thrive in dry conditions, in particular native plants/trees/shrubs.  Mulch is used to conserve water in the soil and irrigation is kept to a minimum.

Wooden pergola with four posts, with a yellow trumpet vine growing up each post, covered in green foliage and yellow flowers

At the entrance to the garden there is a hand-built pergola covered in yellow trumpet vine campsis radicans

Close up of three clusters of yellow trumpet vine flowers and green leaves

The garden consists of 11 island beds. Each bed has a theme such as Viburnum Bed, Nursery Bed, Herb Bed… Garden bench made from concrete uprights with a bluestone slab on top Pink evening primrose flowers and green foliage

The ‘Bench Bed’ includes a bluestone and concrete bench surrounded by sun-loving pink primroses Oenothera speciosa. Chokeberry tree, sedum, ornametnal grasses in a garden with ornamental 'river bed' made from pebbles

One of my favorites was the ‘River Bed’ which included a ‘river’ of pebbles. This dainty tree is a Chokeberry. It is native to NY, has white blossom in the spring and small fruit in the fall. The bright green sedum in front of the tree grows well on dry gravel.

white datura flowers

This Datura is an annual in the Hudson Valley climate (USDA zone 5) the flowers are about 4″ long. Pale purple Echinops flowers with bees and other insects

The garden was teeming with pollinating insects, especially on this Globe Thistle Echinops

Prickly pear cactus with yellow flower

Many plants in the ‘River Bed’ were drought-tolerant species suitable for a xeriscape (minimal-water) garden, such as this Prickly Pear cactus Genus Opuntia in bloom. The fleshy pads are modified stems.

low growing euphorbia with grey leaves, growing next to pebbles

Grey Euphorbia Euphorbia myrsinites forms mats of slightly swirling stems, perfect for the ‘river’ themed bed.

Another of my favorites was the ‘Compost Bed’ I admired the way the compost bins were hidden – here’s the front, a planting of Spirea shrubs, silver-leaved Lambs Ears and beautiful grass Miscanthus Sinensis. spirea shrubs, lambs ears plants and ornamental grasses in a garden

And here’s the back of the bed. Plant pots, three compost bins and a tool box – all very neat and tidy unlike my garden. three garden compost bins, plant pots and tool box in a garden

The ‘Mouse Bed’ (I couldn’t figure out the reason for this name!) included a tall rudbeckia and purple coneflowers Echinacea species.

yellow rudbeckia flowers

purple coneflowers and lambs ear plants

The ‘Milkweed Bed’ included Common or Swamp Milkweed which is food for the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar. The flowers smell like jasmine.

Common/swamp milkweed flower

. yellow achillea flowers

Yellow Achilea in the ‘Milkweed bed’.

The ‘Butterfly Bed’ includes plants such as purple coneflowers that are attractive to skippers and other butterflies.

skipper butterfly on purple coneflowers (echinacea species)

Gaillardia 'Goblin' yellow and red flowers

A butterfly favorite, Gaillardia ‘Goblin’ in the ‘Butterfly Bed’.

heat tolerant succulent plant www.hudsonvalleygardens

Heat tolerant succulent plant

This garden is functional as well as beautiful, because it

  • Enables people to see hardy, drought-tolerant plants
  • Includes plants and trees that are native to NY or cultivars of native plants
  • Provides wildlife habitat, especially for insects and hummingbirds
  • Reduces the use of water and fossil fuels (lawn mowing)
  • Creates a space for people to unwind and enjoy nature

Relax and enjoy the moment in the shade of the pergola…and watch the hummingbirds visiting the trumpet vine.

wooden pergola with yellow trumpet vine growing up it

On a sunny day, the pergola provides a shady spot to sit

Tours of the garden are provided by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County Master Gardeners Program, contact them to schedule a tour. CCEUC

Are you interested in xeriscape  gardening? Add a comment and share your thoughts.

Our hummingbirds are attracted to anything red, so much so that I observed one fly toward our trash can, hover over the red label on the lid and inspect it thoroughly before buzzing away. Why red?

Could the hummingbird be in constant search of the scarlet flowers of the Red Trumpet Vine (Campsis Radicans)? A vine that grows 30′ with large tubular 3″ flowers must be a coveted nectar source for the hummingbird whose beak and long tongue are adapted for feeding on the trumpet-shaped flowers.

Red Trumpet Vine flowers and buds. Source:

Red Trumpet Vine flowers.

“Showy” is how the horticulturists describe the flowers which are about 3″ long. This is something of an understatement! The vine has an outrageously tropical appearance, which is unexpected in upstate New York, an area famous for Maple trees, apples and sweet corn.

Red Trumpet vine covering a fence. Source:

A vigorous plant which quickly covers a fence.

Although it resembles an escapee from a green house, it’s native to north eastern US.

Red Trumpet vine seedpods. Source:

Seed pods provide additional interest.

The red trumpet vine is sometimes planted around front yard mailboxes, very decorative but imagine a 35′ vine growing up a 3′ post – you’d have to keep on top of the pruning or your mailbox would be engulfed pretty quickly. This is a beautiful vine but it needs plenty of space and a strong support structure such as a pergola.

Red Trumpet vine growing over a trellis in a garden. Source:

Requires a substantial trellis.

Red Trumpet vine growing by a mailbox. Source:

Get the hedge clippers out!

Sometimes called ‘Hummingbird vine’, this plant is an important nectar source for hummingbirds and other pollinating insects including butterflies and moths.  Because it is native to eastern US it provides habitat for native wildlife species and contributes to a healthy ecosystem.

Red Trumpet vine flowers. On

Red Trumpet vine flowers – hummingbirds find it irresistible

If you don’t have the space for the trumpet vine, how about planting a native honeysuckle such the ‘Coral Honeysuckle’ (Lonicera sempervivens)? It is a woody vine with large bright red tubular flowers and has all the advantages of the hummingbird vine. It  can reach up to 30′ but is easily pruned to a smaller size and considered a non-aggressive grower.

If you have a suggestion for a smaller native vine that would provide habit/food for wildlife, share your knowledge and add a comment. Thanks!

For more about this vine and other native species, check out this site Flourish of Trumpets!

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