Birds are one of the most fascinating creatures to watch and their chirps are often the first sign that spring has arrived. As a gardener, there are several ways to create an environment that will both attract and help our winged friends. By planting a garden that provides food and shelter for birds, you will create a beneficial, lively habitat in your own outdoor space.
Planting Wildflowers For Birds
When planting wildflowers that will attract and benefit birds, you will want to plant varieties that have larger seeds that form in the heads. This enables birds to get to the seeds easily when they ripen and not have to struggle with breaking seed pods open. Plant wildflower varieties such as Sunflowers, Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, and Daisies. Once they have finished blooming for the season, mow or cut everything down and leave the debris on the ground. This will provide material for birds to use in building shelter and nests.
Planting Perennials For Birds
Perennials provide better materials for the birds as their stalks are normally thicker and heavier, giving birds better support for their nests. Wildflowers will provide both nourishment and shelter for birds, as well as provide a gorgeous show for you – Both with their beautiful blooms and having the delight of watching the birds outside your window.
If you are planting a perennial garden for the birds, there are many choices that will create a beneficial habitat. If possible, try planting varieties that are native to your area. If you aren’t sure which plants are native to your region, check in with your local university or ask a knowledgeable gardening friend. Native plants will better attract birds in your area because they are familiar and recognizable to them.
Another trick to planting a bird-friendly habitat is to create a layered garden – Mix larger, denser plants with smaller varieties to provide birds with a sense of shelter and safety. Try planting shrubs such as Butterfly Bushes, Hydrangea, and Hibiscus with Ornamental Grasses like Fountain Grass, Maiden Grass, or Pampas Grass. Finally, finish off your layered, bird-friendly habitat with bird-attracting flowers such as Bee Balm, Gaillardia, Sedum, Spiderwort, and Yarrow. Planting perennials with different heights, densities, and foliage will help to not only provide birds with shelter and nourishment, but will attract a wider range of bird types.
When creating your bird-friendly habitat, remember to only use organic fertilizers with no pesticides – the birds will certainly appreciate it! Also, instead of trying to prevent bugs in your garden, welcome them as delicious food for your winged friends. Try adding elements such as water baths or bird feeders to complete your “Bird Oasis.”
'Walker's Low' Catmint is known for its easy going nature - it can thrive in a variety of soil and sunlight scenarios, though it does prefer things on the sunny, dry side. Beautiful purple flower spikes appear in early summer and continue to bloom and release their sweet fragrance for up to 3 months. Very showy and very low maintenance, 'Walker's Low' is a great choice for planting in swaths, lining walkways, or adding to pollinator gardens. Deer resistant. (Nepeta faassenii)
'Jacob Cline' Monarda is a colorfully vibrant, mildew-resistant variety of the cherished Bee Balm plant. Loved by both gardeners and hummingbirds, crimson red crown-shaped blooms appear on tall, herbaceous plants in mid summer. Its fragrant foliage and tolerance of pests, mildew and clay soils make 'Jacob Cline' a true favorite in the perennial bed.
Deer resistant. (Monarda)
'Shenandoah' Red Switchgrass is a favorite selection of native prairie grass with gorgeous, colorful leaves. New growth emerges green with red tips. Gradually the entire plant turns to a rich burgundy color that appears to be aflame when backlit by the sun. Airy blooms appear in midsummer, hazy clouds floating above the leaves. Its a real showstopper year-round, with seed heads providing an important food source for native wildlife during the winter. (Panicum virgatum)
'Foxtrot' Fountain Grass lives up to its namesake, dancing upon the gentlest of breezes to invigorate the garden. Everything about this plant moves, from the flowing foliage to the arching pink plumes. An early bloomer among grasses, 'Foxtrot' sends four-inch plumes skyward mid-summer through fall. The soft bottlebrush blooms are tinged pink to maroon and glisten in the sun. A long-time industry favorite for exceptional dependability, this is among the largest and strongest of fountain grasses. Fast growing, low maintenance, and will not reseed. (Pennisetum alopecuroides)
'Pink Cloud' Muhly Grass sends billows of airy pink flower panicles dancing in the wind for a stunning autumn display. The graceful, arching foliage is equally magnificent, providing movement and structure to mixed borders. This native plant is not just beautiful its easy to grow, drought resistant, and deer resistant, too. Tuck cuttings of 'Pink Cloud' Muhly Grass into flower arrangements for lavish texture. Simply breathtaking when planted in flowing drifts and sparkling in the afternoon sun. (Muhlenbergia capillaris)