Flowerbed For Birds

Pernatals bring not only cheerful chirping, polyvocalism and pleasant animation to the garden. They are specially attracted to gardens to protect cultivated plants from insect pests, because, perhaps, one cannot find the best helpers in this business. For birds you can simply put up birdhouses and feeders, or you can include in the gardening planting of such plants, where they can find shelter and special dainties. And we are talking not only about dense shrubs or special trees, but also about perennials, which can attract useful birds no less than garden giants.

Flowerbed for birds
Flower for birds

If a few decades ago nobody thought about garden animals, useful insects and birds in the context of garden landscaping strategy, today attracting natural helpers and our little brothers are considered one of the most important tasks. Fancy houses for insects, variations in the use of feeders, drinkers and shelters for birds and hedgehogs, additional measures to protect them when preparing the garden for winter are becoming the norm today. And landscaping that takes into account the diversity of fauna, attracting to the site honeydew, beneficial insects and much larger inhabitants, generates all new trends and trends in landscape design.

Introduction into the garden plants, especially attractive to useful birds, does not require overt effort or complicated planning. Just study the assortment of species that are most likely to attract the attention of birds and use them instead of other plants. About a complete replacement of all garden plants for "bird plants", of course, and it is not a question: only a few plants in the composition of the garden is enough to attract more birds to it, and you would have an opportunity to observe their behavior, enjoying the communion with nature. About shrubs, which are particularly fond of useful birds, almost everyone knows. But there are means and much smaller and easier to use, not less effective in solving the same problem of attracting birds to the garden. After all, many herbaceous plants and favorite perennials are not only beautiful, but also useful for both humans and creatures in the garden.

The choice of plants that can lure birds into the garden is quite large. Some, thanks to their lush bushes, can provide shelter for birds in a storm, while others can provide food. Using perennials which are particularly generous with their seeds can change the character of a flower bed and lure more feathered helpers into your garden. Such plants perform their useful function mainly in autumn and winter, allowing birds to eat the useful seeds in the season when food sources are scarce. But also in spring and summer, such plants lure birds in a completely different way - with the abundance of insects, which are usually found in flower beds with useful crops. Herbaceous perennials with chamomile-like or large inflorescences consisting of many small, fragrant flowers have always been considered particularly attractive to a variety of insects that birds can enjoy.

Flowerbed for birds
Schloe on a cone of purple coneflower. © Lorraine Hudgins

Most crops that can be used as bait for birds belong to the most popular garden perennials. They are attractive and have a lot of virtue stars, whose ability to produce a generous crop of seeds is just a nice bonus to their bright appearance.

From the largest garden perennials, sunflowers are without a doubt the favorites of feathered garden guests. If you want to please birds, you can also use annual decorative sunflowers. But it is better to save yourself the extra work and plant perennial species sunflowers (Helianthus) as baits for birds. Growing up to 2.5 m Helianthus giganteus (Helianthus giganteus), allowing selection of more compact varieties and forms Helianthus decapetalus (Helianthus decapetalus) and other species flower lushly and bear equally lush fruit. No competitor can compete with delicious sunflower seeds and if not to cover them with nets or cloths for seeds' collection, the useful birds will fully appreciate the feast prepared for them.

Flowerbed for birds
Helianthus decapetalus37>
Sunflower (Helianthus decapetalus). © wildstauden

Attractive sources of sustenance are both spotted spotted sunflower (Eupatorium maculatum) and dubious sunflower (Eupatorium dubium). Powerful herbaceous perennials with straight stems and suprotrusively arranged whole lanceolate leaves amaze with their amazing height up to 2 m, large clumps, and soaring cloud of inflorescences. The pinnacles of the flowering plant look more like fluffy caps and reach up to 20 cm in diameter, creating a purplish-pink cloud over the plant in late summer. After a little over a month of flowering, the angular, tufted seeds ripen. The assortment is also good as a solitary group, as a solitaire, and in the background of flower beds.

Flowerbed for birds
Suspicious spot (Eupatorium dubium)

A real garden giant Rudbeckia giant (Rudbeckia maxima) is inferior in its popularity to more brightly flowering varieties of perennial Rudbeckia, but it is unique in its architectural silhouette, ensemble structuring and ability to set accents. The blue-green waxy leaves and intense yellow baskets of inflorescences with original dark cones appear in late summer. And if you do not cut it back after flowering and let the seeds ripen, the plant will not only decorate your winter garden with very persistent shoots with prickly heads but will be a real treat for birds thanks to the abundance of seeds. Of the more compact rudbeckia species, rudbeckia fulgida (Rudbeckia fulgida) can be used as bird bait.

Flowerbed for birds
Rudbeckia fulgida (Rudbeckia fulgida). © rangedala

There is also another plant that gives a generous crop of seeds - Aster New England (today reclassified to Symphyotrichum Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, but the old name is still more popular). At up to 2 m in height, this powerful fall star can reach almost a meter in circumference. The lanceolate leaves do not sit too densely, the bushes often look sloppy, but the baskets of inflorescences up to 4 cm in diameter, collected in dense shields, are almost uncountable. Aspen-blooming Aster-isolinum with pink and purple tints is very nice either as a solitary plant or in various compositions and has no equal, even as perennial which attracts birds by abundance of seeds.

Flowerbed for birds
Aster New England (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).

Aster novae-angliae can also be a rare guest in our gardens Vernonia Arkansas (Vernonia arkansana). It is a 1.5-2 m high perennial forming very wide shrubs, very vivid oval-lanceolate green with a cool emerald tint and bright purple "fluffy" baskets of inflorescences up to 2 cm in diameter, combined in large panicles on the tops of shoots. This plant is a lover of damp places near reservoirs, which is introduced to flower beds with regular watering.

Flowerbed for birds
Vernonia arkansana (Vernonia arkansana)

Not to forget about cereals, many of which birds are happy to visit. Among the main sources of sustenance of useful birds can be included Panicum virgatum (Panicum virgatum), or crown millet. It is one of the most lush of the giant cereals. The first thing that valued millet rod-shaped is its beautiful and numerous inflorescences and its very wide, ever-expanding turfgrasses, which are extremely variable in their rate of growth. The loose, slightly drooping shrubs which grow from just over a meter to over 2 meters in height are fascinating with their narrow, straight leaves which turn a lighter shade of beige with the onset of cold weather and are attractive with their wide, airy panicles of miniature inflorescences. Pink or red panicles decorate gardens in August and September and then scatter numerous seeds around. Millet is excellent even in winter, when tied in a clump it can decorate gardens until spring and feeds birds with small but very nutritious seeds.

Flowerbed for birds
Proutine millet (Panicum virgatum). © Paul Pilon

The large size of the Indian grass Sorghastrum nutans (Sorghastrum nutans) does not detract from the fact that it produces very many seeds, which birds love to tinker with. This plant has long been a symbol of the American prairies and is considered indispensable in landscape design. Ranging in height from one and a half to more than two feet, sorghum trees form strikingly lush and showy turf. The narrow leaves delight in different variations of color and allow you to look even for plants with metallic effects, and the copper panicles with yellow anthers then change their color to dark brown and hide a large number of seeds that attract birds.

Flowerbed for birds
Sorghastrum nutans. © bhwp

Schizachyrium panicular (Schizachyrium scoparium) is one of the most graceful and rarely found grasses in our country. It is much more compact than its competitors, which attract birds, but also much more accurate looking. Straight and ascetic knotweed with a height of up to 120 cm captivates by a combination of strictly straight lines of its young leaves and arch-shaped curves of the old ones. Differently colored leaves can be seen on the same plant - from green to blue and even purple, which makes every clump a mottled ripple. The spectacular copper outfits of Schizachirium are combined with inconspicuous elongated spikelets, which decorate the plant and attract attention only after the beginning of fruiting and seed ripening. The silvery spikes glow in the flower beds and seem to herald the first winter wonders, maintaining their beauty even in the midst of winter.

Flowerbed for birds
Schizachyrium panicum (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Similar in height, but radically different in appearance from this original cereal, is the famous beautifully flowering American star Liatris spicata (Liatris spicata). It is a herbaceous perennial with erect shoots decorated with alternately arranged narrow-linear leaves, which give all bushes an unusual graphic character and emphasize perfectly straight lines of shoots. The showy, fluffy, enormous and powerful spikes of liatrice inflorescences consist of small basket-like inflorescences, which in turn consist only of tubular flowers. They reach almost half a meter in length and appear stunningly powerful, attracting insects in astounding numbers. After summer flowering, the ribbed, hair-covered oblong seeds mature in multiples.

Flowerbed for birds
Liatris spicata (Liatris spicata). © monrovia

Echinacea purpurea (Echinacea purpurea) is a plant that is useful not only as a medicinal crop. Birds also like to enjoy the useful seeds of Echinacea, and the plant itself effectively decorates the garden in autumn and winter. However, if you want to introduce Echinacea in a flower garden for birds, choose not the usual tall meter-long varieties, but the most compact varieties with a height of about 60-70 cm (such as the Magnus variety). A large number of inflorescences of compact size will give more food for birds. Echinacea, with its root serrated-oval leaves, sessile lanceolate stems, strong, snowfall-resistant shoots and baskets of inflorescences with curved "button" centers, blooms from July to September, more than two months, and bears abundant fruit.

Flowerbed for birds
Echinacea purpurea

If you are bored with Echinacea or are looking for a more original plant, pay attention to the generously producing seeds Gaillardia grandiflora (Gaillardia grandiflora). It spreads seeds easily and is often eaten by birds. From 30 to 75 cm tall, this gaillardia has downy, oval leaves and large baskets up to 12 cm in diameter with "circles" of yellow, orange, red or brown color. The large center of the flower is also very beautiful in summer, during flowering, but its beauty is fully revealed only after the lingual flowers have fallen. During the ripening of the seeds the Gaillardia looks very beautiful in a flower garden. The height of the lowest of all Gaillardia verticillata

Flowerbed for birds
Gaillardia grandiflora

Most compact plants you should pay attention to the lowest varieties Coreopsis verticillata (Coreopsis verticillata ) about 30-40 cm. Very narrow needle-shaped leaves form bushes that look more like fennel or dill, and the bright yellow star-shaped daisies of the inflorescences are replaced by fruit seeds that hide a very large number of seeds.

Flowerbed for birds
Coreopsis verticillata6>. © Jessie Keith

The seeds that mature in the large shields of varietal thistles (Achillea) will also attract birds. For flowerbeds designed to attract birds to the garden, it is worth choosing the varietal hybrids with the largest inflorescences of pink or red color variations.

Flowerbed for birds
Yarrow (Achillea)

How to create a flower bed for birds from perennials

You can create separate flower beds or islands, spots in large beds and in decorative compositions with plants that attract birds to the garden and serve as special "magnets" for them. In order to enjoy the full benefits of such plants, it is worth following a few rules for their placement:

  1. In order to be able to freely observe birds, place compositions of plants that attract birds close to seating areas or a terrace, so that the house or seating area overlooks the flower bed or islet.
  2. When selecting plants, consider the color palette and desired flowering relay.
  3. Place flower beds or bands of perennials near walls, hedges, fences, vertical structures, you increase the chances not only of temporary garden visits, but also that beneficial birds will stay in the garden for a long time.
  4. Combine the use of attractive plants with additional measures to attract birds - install birdhouses, feeders, bird baths, build winter shelters.
  5. Try to find secluded, quiet and warm places for such a flower garden.
  6. Take care of flower beds for birds only in sunny or only slightly shaded areas.
Flowerbed for birds
Bird Drinker in the garden

The care of flower beds for birds or areas of large compositions in which plants attractive to birds are used, must differ slightly from the care of ordinary flower beds. In such flower beds only organic fertilizers are used as a mulch, and the faded flowers and dry above-ground parts of plants are never removed in the fall, so that they can serve as a temporary shelter or source of food for birds in the garden. But the most important rule is to completely avoid using any non-biological insecticides and fungicides against insect pests and diseases in plants. Attracting birds will reduce the number of pests anyway, and using pesticides will not only deprive birds of some of their sustenance, but can also create a dangerous situation for the lives and health of your guest helpers.

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