By Jodi Torpey
It’s easy to attract wild birds to your garden, if you make the right planting choices. Now’s the time to plan ways to share the love of birds this gardening season. Here are several plants that attract wild birds…
Love is in the air every season in my garden. I can’t imagine my landscape without wild birds hopping along the path, chirping from tall trees or flying full speed across the yard. In addition to filling feeders with different kinds of seed, I’ve planted many fruiting shrubs and perennial flowers to attract my feathered friends.
Some gardeners try to prevent seeds from sprouting in the garden, but I encourage it. Once the weather warms, masses of sunflowers spring up practically overnight. The bright yellow flowers light up the garden all summer and when the flowers fade, birds appreciate the small dried seeds that are left behind.
The seeds, fruits and flowers attract a diverse group of birds. Of course there are sparrows, but I’ve seen blue jays, blackbirds, doves, finches, flickers, rock pigeons, juncos and even hawks. Each time I catch sight of a hummingbird at the Sunset hyssops (Agastache rupestris), my heart simply soars.
The tube-shaped orange flowers are a main attraction from mid-to-late summer. These hardy perennials can tolerate a dry garden once they’re established and they offer a nice root-beer like fragrance, too.
Serviceberry is a favorite shrub for the birds, especially robins. This tidy shrub is one of the first to bloom in spring and the first to provide a feast of berries. Robins also fall for the dried berries on the Virginia creeper and honeysuckle vines, too.
Another shrub that grows beautifully in my Zone 5 garden is Nanking cherry. This cold-hardy shrub features fragrant white flowers that attract bees and other pollinators in early April. Later, after the shrub is thick with green leaves, the birds and squirrels enjoy all the small sour cherries that cover the branches.
Even if you garden in a small space, you can plant a mini-backyard habitat. Fill large containers with a high-quality potting soil, like Empire Builder Grower’s Mix, and fill with nectar-rich flowers.
What ideas do you have for showing the love to birds this year? How do you like to attract wild birds to your garden?