Garden Photo of the Day

Garden/Bird Hang Out

Today we’re visiting Jerry Hilker’s garden.

My family and I have lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, for about 14 years now. We built a home about four years ago. The clay soil was very compact, and we started from scratch. The garden beds are designed to attract pollinating insects and birds. We made habitats for honeybees, hummingbirds, and gulf fritillary, monarch, and swallowtail butterflies.

It’s a continuous project, and we all enjoy the cut flowers, lavender, and veggies the garden provides, as well as getting to know the beneficial insects and birds that it attracts. I really enjoy following Fine Gardening and wanted to share our developing yard.

Bright flowers and lush plantings make this garden great habitat for humans, pollinators, and birds alike. (Love the sign over the bird house!)

Vigorous vines turn this structure into a cool, shady retreat from the Texas heat. On the right, I spy a hammock that looks like a perfect place to relax and enjoy the garden, and climbing up on the left side of this image is a pipevine (Aristolochia), which is both beautiful and interesting and is the only host for the beautiful pipevine swallowtail butterfly.

Close-up of a flower on the pipevine. There are many species of pipevine, and all are suitable food sources for the pipevine swallowtail. This amazing butterfly is found over a wide swath of North America, and growing this beautiful and unusual vine is the best way to get the chance to see them in your garden.

Another view of the garden, looking out from under a tall angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia sp.), which will be a fragrant wonder once it comes into flower. Brugmansia are usually grown as annuals in cold climates, but around Zone 8 or 9 they can make it through the winter.

This garden doesn’t just provide food for pollinators. These tomatoes and basil are looking great.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/21/2019

    Great job, Jerry, on creating such an appealing sanctuary for not only your family but your winged friends aa well. I'm captivated by the intriguing looking flower of the looks right out of the imagination of Dr. Seuss.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/21/2019

    There is only one reason to have a garden & that is what you are doing by providing for bees & butterflies. Let me add that the pipevine is amazing.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 05/21/2019

    I'd love to sit in your garden, especially once that Angel's Trumpet goes into bloom. Living in Pittsburgh (zone 6b) I have never seen one in the ground like a tree, like you have. A garden with birds, butterflies and bees are the most enjoyable! I also love the arbors with vines overhead giving it a outdoor room feeling!

  4. btucker9675 05/21/2019

    You've created an amazing, inviting garden for all! I've never seen a pipevine fruit before and will investigate growing one in my garden. Thanks for sharing your marvelous space.

  5. cheryl_c 05/21/2019

    Jerry, thank you so much for sharing the ways in which you have brought the birds and butterflies into an already attractive garden. In particular, thanks for highlighting the pipevine and the swallowtail named for it! Another beautiful native not yet discovered by those who would genetically modify it!

  6. hummerlu 05/21/2019

    Lovely garden. I too garden for the birds, bees and butterflies. Like many have mentioned, love the pipevine. I have Dutchmans pipe too but the flowers are not nearly as pretty as yours. I wonder if yours is hardy in zone 6

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