Saturday, February 21, 2009

Creat a Bird Garden: Plant Native! Part II

I spoke last time, about making gardening easier, using less water; having more time to enjoy the wildlife a native-planted garden will bring. Do remember the bit about layering; planting tall in back and pulling edges toward the yard with progressively shorter plantings. Try planting in 3's and 5's for a more natural effect.

In the fall, leave the leaf-litter, even rake leaves from the lawn up under the shrubs and trees; the birds will love that and the plants will thrive under protection from the elements. I call all this "Shabby-chic" gardening, but its million-dollar to the environment. Well...and your back!

Please remember not to use insecticides and herbacides in your garden, either. These poison both good and bad bugs which are eaten by larger bugs, which are eaten by birds. And they kill our native bees, too. A diverse garden is a healthy garden. A few bad bugs cannot munch their way through an entire garden, unless that garden is already lacking diversity, numbers and health. Keep your garden healthy by planting in both numbers and diversity...and not using poisions; the whole world will thank you for it! That's a Blue Orchard Bee to the right; these highly valuable bees are quite friendly and seldom do they sting!

Cherries and Plums - Wild plums and cherries are eaten by over 80 species of birds including American robins, blackbirds, black-headed grosbeaks, bluebirds, blue jays,
catbirds, cedar waxwings, common flickers, downy woodpeckers, grackles, hairy woodpeckers, hermit thrushes, house finches, house sparrows, Lewis' woodpeckers, northern cardinals, northern mockingbirds, northern orioles, pine grosbeaks, red-headed woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, ruffed grouse, song sparrows, stellar jays, Townsend's solitares, western tanagers, white-crowned sparrows, white-throated sparrows, wood thrushes. From 7’ – 30’. Some hardy to Zone 2.

Crabapples, Dogwoods - Eaten by over 45 species of birds including American robins, blue birds, blue jays, bobwhites, cardinals, cedar waxwings, flickers, evening grosbeaks, grackles, house finches, house sparrows, jays, northern mockingbirds, pine grosbeaks, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and red-headed and downy woodpeckers. Look for those called 'persistant', which means they hold their fruit for the winter. These make little mess; holding fruit on the tree while it freezes and thaws a few times so the birds can utilize it. Also look for the plants which produce fruit smaller than 1/2 an inch; again, less mess and easier for birds to handle. Generally 15-30’ Hardy to Zone 4

Native Maples, Evergreens, Aspen, Ash and Oak - Hugely important food sources to many, many birds and other wildlife. Maple flowers and seeds, Evergreen berries like the Juniper berry and of course pine cones and their seeds, Aspen flowers and obviously acorns. Colorado's River Maple stays a fairly small tree, several evergreens are small and shrubby. While Aspen can get quite big, Gambel and Live Oak are manageable and their acorns necessary to a great variety of wildlife.

Viburnum – a shrub or small tree (150 species) that offers sizes from 2 to 30’ and which fruit, depending on variety, from summer through fall and winter. Most birds feed at this versatile plant. I look for several species for my yard; small trees with horzontal branching make them spectacular to look at. Smaller bushes provide the stepped-down look I want and more fruit and cover for the birds; all in a very natural, easy care yard. Many hardy to Zone 3.

Elderberries – Over 100 species of birds eat them including American robins, black-headed grosbeaks, bluebirds, blue jays, brown thrashers, catbirds, cedar waxwings, common flickers, finches, grackles, house sparrows, northern mockingbirds, red-eyed vireos, red-headed woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, titmice, towhees, white-breasted nuthatches, and white-crowned sparrows. Deer also enjoy this plant shrub or small, bushy tree. Hardy to Zone 3-4.

Serviceberries and Chokecherries - Eaten by over 42 species of birds including American robins, brown thrashers, catbirds, cedar waxwings, chickadees, common flickers, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, hermit thrush, house finches, juncos, kingbirds, mourning doves, northern orioles, phoebes, red-eyed vireos, red-headed woodpeckers, and scarlet tanagers. 10-25’ Hardy to Zone 4.

Grapes - Over 90 species of birds eat them including American robins, blue jays, brown thrashers, cedar waxwings, evening grosbeaks, grackles, house finches, house sparrows, magpies, northern cardinals, northern mockingbirds, orioles, Stellar jays, towhees, and yellow-billed cuckoos. Hardy to Zone 4.

Virginia Creeper, Honeysuckle, Silver Lace and other vines - Not only are these colorful plants useful in garden design for their beauty alone, and while it's true berries and flowers are enjoyed by birds and bugs alike...but who knew the Silver Lace Vine was so important to bees and other pollinating insects? Hardy to Zone 4.

Hackberries - Eaten by over 45 species of birds including bobwhite, brown thrashers, cedar waxwings, common flickers, curved bill thrashers, eastern bluebirds, evening grosbeaks, hermit thrush, northern cardinals, northern mockingbirds, northern orioles, phoebes, pileated woodpeckers, some quail, roadrunners, red-bellied woodpeckers, titmice, and towhees. 25-75’ Hardy to Zone 2.

Mulberries - Eaten by over 55 species of birds including American robins, bluebirds, blue jays, brown thrashers, catbirds, cedar waxwings, downy woodpeckers, grackles, house sparrows, kingbirds, northern cardinals, northern mockingbirds, northern orioles, orchard orioles, red-bellied woodpeckers, red-eyed vireos, red-headed woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, scarlet tanagers, titmice, wood thrush, yellow-billed cuckoos, and yellow warblers. Varieties from bush to large tree. Some hardy to Zone 5.

Winterberry or Holly and Blueberries – Over 80 species of birds eat them including American robins, black-capped chickadees, common flickers, grackles, house sparrows, kingbirds, many species of orioles, towhees, and tufted titmice. However, male and female flowers are produced on separate plants, so at least one male variety is needed for pollination and fruit set…which occurs on the female plants, and the plant prefers acidic soil; not generally found in CO and difficult to maintain. 4-6’ Hardy to Zone 4.

Pyracantha and Cotoneaster – Cedar Waxwings will eat Pyracantha berries till they’re drunk! Most birds enjoy the berries produced by this spiny plant (also called Firethorn) With Cotoneaster (pronounced ka-tō'-nē-as-ter), you get a similar plant but without the often painful thorns! 4-6’ Hardy to Zone 5.

Raspberries and Blackberries - Over 140 species of birds eat them including American robins, blue jays, common flickers, fox sparrows, grackles, house sparrows, orchard orioles, red-headed woodpeckers, tufted titmice, wood thrush, northern cardinals, northern mockingbirds, northern orioles, rose-breasted grosbeak, song sparrows, and white-throated sparrows. Hardy to
Zone 3-4.

Ground Covers – such as Kinnickinnick, Wintergreen, Bearberry, Lingonberry and Low-growning Sumac (which is also not ‘itchy’) and several junipers are lovely and mostly evergreen plants that birds surely enjoy. Most hardy to Zone 2-3.

Strawberries - Eaten by over 50 species of birds including American robins, blue jays, catbirds, cedar waxwings, common flickers, crows, evening grosbeaks, grackles, house sparrows, magpies, northern mockingbirds, some quail, rose-breasted grosbeaks, towhees, and wood thrush. Hardy to Zone 4.

All photos from Wikipedia

4 comments:

Sheri Fresonke Harper said...

Love all the pictures you have on this blog!
:) Sheri

Beverly said...

Oh my...thank you for reminding me to add my last line:

All photos from Wikipedia

I like the photos too; they seem to show me that it's possible to have beauty and lushness in the garden using native and even xeric plants. I can hardly wait to add more and more of these plants to my garden!

I'm working toward a Certified Wildlife garden...

lkw said...

These were two great posts with lots of excellent information about native plants to support birds!

Beverly said...

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Nice to ‘see’ you again!

Yeah, the posts were probably too long, but how to say all that in fewer words? I want folks to know there is a huge array of plants that are both natural and often xeric…that attract birds and other wildlife and are super easy maintenance! Of course, that’s because they’re native…but also because ripping out turf and planting groups of these plants makes weekends a LOT more pleasant. LOL

I thought of you the other day when I went to a ‘Victory Garden’ workshop where Penn and Cord Parmenter, a couple from near Westcliffe CO, spoke about growing food here in the mountains. You’d like them a lot! Try Googling their name; there is a bunch of info on the good work they do!

(sorry about the re-post...the link I had was an e-mail address; not a website)