Tucson seems to be growing quite rapidly, and new housing developments are sprouting everywhere. Newly graded dirt roads, plastic salvage ribbons tied to Saguaros and other protected plants, as well as fire hydrants like this appearing in the desert are sure signs of imminent land development.
Despite the loss of natural habitat that comes with land development, there are ways to somewhat mitigate the damage. One of the best things that homeowners and developers can do to partially replace what was lost is to use native plants and trees in landscaping. Not only is this good for the natural environment, but these plants are generally attractive, easy to grow, and require little water.
Our many native penstemons are not only an important nectar source for Tucson's wide variety of resident and migratory hummingbirds, but they also have beautiful flowers and are a nice addition to any spring garden.
With all of my pink Parry's Penstemons and several hummingbird feeders, I have been fortunate enough to have seen 8 species of hummingbirds in my yard. I'm hoping to plant the seeds of several more species of native penstemons in my garden this fall, and hopefully they will attract even more hummingbirds. Native penstemon seeds (fall) and plants (spring) are usually available in local plant nurseries.