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Bird Friendly Gardens

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April 1, 2019

Birds liven up any garden with their twittering, singing, and the occasional scolding today on Southern Gardening. 

Birds are always a welcome feature in the garden.  You can always attract birds by keeping a full bird feeder.  But why not just plant the correct types of garden plants and get double duty from your plantings.  Try planting for seasonal food and shelter, you don’t even need any large trees for birds to be plentiful. 

Seeds are birds primary food source.  Plants with flower spikes such as Agastache are good choices as well as Echinacea and Coreopsis.  Flowers held up above the foliage allow easier access.  Remember not to deadhead and allow the seeds to ripen fully. 

Berry producing plants are also great bird attractants as they like berries as much as we do.  Two hollies worth considering are winterberry and possumhaw, Ilex verticillata and I. decidua.  Their red berries in the winter are like beacons signaling dinner is ready. 

Finally, if you want birds in your garden you need to provide shelter.  Some species prefer a dense canopy from a blueberry or juniper.  Others like an open canopy provided by a pin oak or hawthorn. 

Don’t forget to include a bird bath.  Birds need a water source all year to drink and take a bath.  And be sure to flush and clean on a regular basis. 

Growing a wide variety of plants in the garden is a sure way to cover the bases of food sources and shelter. 

Providing the right kinds of plants in the garden will ensure you have feathered visitors all year round. 

I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening. 

Department: Coastal Research & Extension Center

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