Now that you have a list of suitable plants that will grow in the Sedona area (USDA Zone 7), which plants you use will depend on design principles based on the plant’s form and purpose. If you are looking to simply create an area that you will call your hummingbird garden that will be quite easy to design. It would be based on the size of the space as well as the amount of sunlight it gets. But before selecting which plants are suitable for your particular space, let’s look at the general form of each shrub. Not all the plants will be suitable for any space within your garden.
If you want your garden to not look like a hodgepodge of plants, you have to spend some time thinking about this basic principle: Select the right plant and put it in the right place.
What this means is you have to understand the growing requirements of the plants such as how tall and wide do they get, what kind of sunlight do they need and water and soil needs. Also, research and understand the aesthetic characteristics of each plant such as the flower color, texture, size and form.
Once you have a palette of suitable plants to work with, where do you place them? This is the art and science of planting design and there is a process that you must go through to achieve a thoughtfully designed garden.
The key to a successful “hummingbird” garden is to not rely solely on plants that have flowers that attract hummingbirds. Use other plants that provide the necessary structure, form, textural and seasonal interest to your garden. For instance, if you have a 12 x 12 spot that you want to create your hummingbird garden and select all perennials, what will it look like during the winter? A garden in Sedona must be designed with a balance of evergreens and perennials. This balance is key to the placement of the plants.
Start with analyzing your garden, its various spaces, the site conditions such as the amount of sunlight, slope, soil type, existing structures and elements you want to keep. Many of the ridge line properties in Sedona are rocky. You may have to rely on using containers instead. If you have sloped areas, consider using low terraced retaining walls which will allow you to add good soil to plant.
What are the functional elements such as a sitting area, patios, walkways, focal points, fountains or fences that may be included? Laying out the “hard” surfaces will define the areas available for plantings.
Perennial gardens are typically planting beds that are intended to create a flower show. For a hummingbird garden, you may want to designate a certain spot for this special bed or it could be a series of beds that border a walkway. You can also locate specific hummingbird plants throughout the garden so not all the excitement happens in one particular area.
In order to create interest place the plants based primarily on their form.  Categorize the forms based on trees, tall shrubs, medium shrubs, low shrubs, ground covers, spiky accents, evergreen vs. deciduous, annual and perennial. Conceptually layout each particular planting area based on the forms, then pay attention to the grouping, the layering and the massing of the plants.
Vertical layering is the escalation of height from the front to the back of a bed or a vantage point in the garden. Small low plants go up close and taller, bolder textures go in the background. Midlevel shrubs go in the middle.
Horizontal layering is the massing of shrubs and the repetition of shrubs to fill up a void. It is not a good idea to create horizontal layering with too much variety. Repetition of the same or similarly formed shrubs is best. You can break up the monotony by using vertical accents to break the linearity of the repeated shrub texture and form. I like to do this with spiky accent shrubs like Liriope, Red Yucca or Agave. Note that the Liriope and Agave are not hummingbird plants. Limiting your plant palette to all hummingbird plants is not a good idea. Use them as accents for when they flower, but not as the primary structure of the garden.

Here is a list of trees and shrubs that will do well in the Sedona area which should form the plant palette that will comprise your Sedona Hummingbird Garden Design.
TREES
Mimosa (deciduous)
Desert Willow (deciduous)
Vitex (deciduous)
Crape Myrtle (deciduous)
Pomegranate (deciduous)

PERENNIALS
Agastache
Bee balm
Canna lily
Daylily
Delphinium
Flame acanthus
Coral bells
Nasturtium
Petunia
Red columbine
Russian Sage
Penstemon
EVERGREEN SHRUBS
Autumn Sage
English lavender
Spanish lavender
Red Yucca

VINES
Halls honeysuckle (semi-evergreen)
Coral honeysuckle (semi-evergreen)
Red Trumpet vine (deciduous)

Include feeders in your Sedona Hummingbird Garden Design
Don’t overlook the use of feeders to provide hummingbirds with a food source in addition to the flowers. Not all flowers will be blooming, nor have sufficient nectar. Place the feeders in shade and/or near sitting areas of to view from inside the house. Having more than one feeder will help attract more hummers. For more information about the use of feeders check out the Sedona Hummingbird Society web site.

 [huge_it_gallery id=”2″]

As I said in my previous post, one of the reasons some people are disconnected from nature and that sense of paradise is because we think too much.  Here I will now tell you the five tips to making your yard into a lush paradise and which capture the essence of what we think of as paradise in our own yard.

1) Water

Whether it’s a natural oceanfront setting or a small pond with waterfall, water is symbolic of the essence of all life on earth and so it forms the fundamental basis of creating paradise.

2) Enclosure

We need to have the feeling of sanctuary, both physical and psychological. A structure such as a ramada, an overhead patio cover, or a grass hut provides shelter, enclosure and a sense of security. We also need walls so as to screen objectionable views and to create a sense of privacy. Walls can be structures or plant materials, but natural materials will more closely emulate the concept of the Garden of Eden.

3) Sensory stimulus

We need to be reminded that we are alive by being aware of our surrounding through our sensory perception. A distant view of the horizon reassures us that we are not locked up in a cage with nowhere to go. A warm breeze across our skin reminds us of the power of the sun to give warmth and light to all life. Scents and smells add pleasure and delight to our surroundings and uplifts our spirit.

4) Nature

The raw state of nature in the form of lush vegetation and wildlife reminds us that we are not too different than animals but with a more evolved consciousness. We know on a deep level that there is truth and meaning in nature and all of its miraculous manifestations.

If we don’t often get to see resident wildlife, we can attract it to our garden or provide our own in the form of fish, pets or birds. Create a paradise for wildlife to visit and they will come.

5) Sound

The sounds of birds singing and calling reassure us that everything is well. We are secretly fascinated that they have their own language and that they can communicate with each other even though we have no idea what they are saying.

The sound of moving water as from a rippling stream, waterfall or fountain is a reminder of our connection to the essence of life in the form of water. Water is such a symbolic element and represents not only life, but prosperity, purity and energy.

Once we have these five elements, a paradise begins to take form, but not without our own state of mind. Paradise is not just a location, but a feeling of being in a special place, of knowing you are a part of the greater whole.

I have just released a new ebook that actually goes through a step by step process for someone to go about creating a backyard paradise, called aptly, The Paradise Garden.

How To Create a Sacred Sanctuary in Your Own Backyard

As a Sedona garden writer who not only specializes in reviewing books about gardening and landscaping, I also write about spirituality, and mind-body-spirit industry. So when I was asked to review this new ebook about Spiritual Garden Design, I jumped at the opportunity because in the niche of garden books and design in general, I have never seen anything bridging the gap between spirituality and ho-hum gardening. But it wasn’t until I got deeper into the book that I realized what the author was getting at.

You see, spirituality has different meanings for different people but I think everyone would agree what a sacred sanctuary in their backyard would look like for them. But here is where the actual design of the garden is split between the inner garden of your mind (spirituality) and the outer garden in its physical appearance.

The author makes a bold assumption that the enjoyment of and the proper design of a garden can bring one closer in touch with one’s own spirituality. By the end of the book, I was however, convinced that I too could delve into the area of design and use some of his techniques to raise not only my own consciousness, but that of my sacred garden.

Pros

The author makes a case for the average person with no design experience being able to design their own sacred sanctuary. He does this by defining exactly what makes a garden sacred and goes through a series of design examples that develop what is called the “spiritual criteria”. In order to design something into a garden, you must first understand spiritual principles and more importantly which of those are meaningful to you on a personal level.

Everyone is at different levels of being on the path of spiritual development and the author recognizes this all too well as he admits the initial ideas and the actual writing of the book was part of his spiritual journey that is still ongoing.

The material is refreshingly presented in a practical, down to earth manner unlike many other new age type books that have an airy fairy flavor to it that makes you wonder if the author was born on this planet.  But this author is certainly grounded having a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture and who takes this knowledge and expertise to deliver a section of the basic principles of landscape design.

Spiritual Garden Design would seem like a daunting task to overcome without some basic knowledge of landscape designing without the spirituality tossed in. This section of the book provides an anchor and support system for all of the esoteric and symbolic language that makes up much of the spirituality and mind body spirit sub culture.

People will find this material to resonate with them as many of the subjects have been addressed in many other non-garden formats. There are also several bonuses included in the cost of the book such as Secrets of Garden Design, Spiritual Garden Design Resources and personal email support from the author.

Cons

Perhaps not everyone would find this book useful if they are not already on the spiritual path. Nor would they find some of the esoteric garden ideas interesting if they never heard of the term “chakra” or “sacred geometry”. The only other reservation I have is that overall the book seems to be more focused on eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, mindfulness, higher conscious, connection with nature and not so much on Western religious ideology. So if you find Paganism to be objectionable, then maybe you should stick to Square Foot Gardening.

Conclusion

In a sea of gardening books, it is a nice welcome to find someone who explores the deeper meaningful side of gardens and how learning about design, you are learning about yourself. Using the garden as a metaphor for your own consciousness, but then taken a step further, you realize that the garden is you and that you are actually designing a new consciousness for your own being. That is hard to encapsulate in the title of a book, but I believe Spiritual Garden Design is a subject well worth reading and discovering your inner garden designer. I would recommend that all gardeners with a higher conscious get this book.
/* */