Gardening for the Birds A Partnership in Growing Greener


Gardening for the Birds
  • Posted October 22, 2012

Gardening with birds in mind is a great way to bring additional beauty and balance to your growing space. These winged wonders not only help with pollination and spreading of seeds, but offer chemical-free insect control as well. Adding a few site-matched Native varieties (more green points!) to your plantings will help ensure your garden supports, and gets support from, a diversity of local birds.

Even a small bit of garden or landscape space can help provide for the basic needs of feathered friends. A mix of fruiting trees or shrubs, seed forming grasses and perennials, and an evergreen or two can provide them with food, and shelter. Twigs, dried grass and seed head fluff from these same plants will be repurposed as nest building materials. If a few of the plants offer nectar-filled blooms, you add a treat to the menu during bloom seasons. Don't forget to accessorize your bird friendly landscape with bird baths, bird houses and supplemental feeders to provide the fullest accommodation.

Great Plants for Food, Shelter and Nesting Materials

Related Pages

White Cedar, Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

White Cedar, Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

Cedar are feathery-foliaged evergreens with varieties suited to a multitude landscape styles and settings. Their dense growth habit means they look great solo or grouped for hedging.

View Page »

Austrian Pine, European Black Pine (Pinus nigra)

Austrian Pine, European Black Pine (Pinus nigra)

Extremely hardy, versatile and low maintenance tree. Pyramidal when young, broad and flat-topped when mature. Moderately long, dark green needles are very stiff. The dark brown bark is quite attractive.

View Page »

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

Native to cold climates, Picea abies is extremely desirable for its attractive, elegant form and fine texture. Long cones develop on the pendulous branches adding to the decorative appeal of this large evergreen.

View Page »

Perennial Sage, Meadow Sage, Garden Sage (Salvia species)

Perennial Sage, Meadow Sage, Garden Sage (Salvia species)

One of the most adaptable plant groups around, Salvia tolerates challenging conditions where other plants would suffer. Thrives with minimal care in hot, dry, sunny locations. Most species bloom over a long period of time. Removing faded flowers keeps the plant looking tidy and may…

View Page »

Dianthus, Garden Pinks (Dianthus species)

Dianthus, Garden Pinks (Dianthus species)

Dianthus have been a standard for flower gardens for generations. The delicate frilly flowers and soft gray foliage are a welcome sight in the spring garden. Many types have a wonderful spicy fragrance and all types attract butterflies. Easy to grow in a container or in the garden.…

View Page »

Bergamot, Bee Balm (Monarda hybrid)

Bergamot, Bee Balm (Monarda hybrid)

This wonderful, all-around performer emits a delightful scent. Produces whorled clusters of tubular florets and deliciously fragrant foliage. Flowers are loved by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

View Page »

Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pennsylvanica)

Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pennsylvanica)

A fine texture and fountaining habit give this sedge a soft appearance. Makes a perfect underplanting for bolder perennials with its tough disposition and spreading habit.

View Page »

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum species)

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum species)

Fountain grass is a splendid choice for adding soft texture to the landscape. The dense clump of gracefully arching foliage produces an abundance of showy, softly-textured flower plumes in late summer. A fast-grower and carefree in almost any situation with well-drained soil. The…

View Page »

Miscanthus, Ornamental Grass (Miscanthus species)

Miscanthus, Ornamental Grass (Miscanthus species)

Grasses are one of the easiest, most carefree plants to grow. The Miscanthus types of grasses offer a wide array of beautiful foliage colors, forms and textures. There is sure to be one for nearly any location or need. The dry foliage adds winter interest in the landscape and…

View Page »

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

A hardy North American native plant capable of thriving in just about any sunny location. The cheerful yellow flowers are excellent for cut arrangements. Bees and butterflies flock to the blooms and birds enjoy the seed heads after the flowers fade. Old blooms may also be removed to…

View Page »

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Kousa dogwood is an excellent choice for year-round interest. Tiny green blooms surrounded by showy, petal-like bracts appear in spring. Flowers are followed by decorative red berries that can persist into winter if the birds don’t eat them first. The autumn foliage turns…

View Page »

Redtwig Dogwood, Slilverleaf Dogwood 'Elegantissima' (Cornus alba)

Redtwig Dogwood, Slilverleaf Dogwood 'Elegantissima' (Cornus alba)

A fine choice for the landscape offering excellent flower, fruit, and foliage! Gray-green foliage with irregular creamy-white margins. White flowers in late spring and early summer are followed by decorative fruit. Stems turn vibrant red in winter.

View Page »

Common Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Common Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

A prairie native and a tough, self-reliant garden plant. Rose-purple petals arch back from a central, spiky seed cone. The blooms are held on sturdy stems. Attracts butterflies to the garden.

View Page »

Bearberry (Cotoneaster dammeri)

Bearberry (Cotoneaster dammeri)

A low growing, spreading species of Cotoneaster, that is tough, good-looking and easy care. Glossy, evergreen foliage looks great year round. Dainty summer blooms are followed by tiny, non-edible, red berries in autumn.

View Page »

Dawn Sherwood
About the Author

Dawn Ochsner is a landscape designer and garden writer.


Post A Comment

Gardening for the Birds
Photo Gallery