Garden goodies lure birds to your backyard

What makes a garden into a welcoming club room for birds? Simply put, food,
water and shelter. Provide these three basics and your landscape can quickly become an avian haven. Today I'll have a few more suggestions for plants that you might want to consider if attracting birds is one of your priorities.
If you missed last week's column, which was the first part of a two parter on bird-friendly gardens, you can find it under the Plant Man heading at my Web site, www.landsteward.org
Food will always be a major motivator. Essentially, plants that provide fruit, nuts or seeds are the ones that are the most likely to attract birds.
Additionally, plants that provide nesting materials, shelter from the weather or a comfortable roosting location will make your landscape even more bird-friendly.
Here are some more plants that appeal to both birds and bird lovers:
American Bittersweet (Calastrus scandens) Plant some Bittersweet and watch birds and other wildlife as they enjoy the clusters of yellow-orange fruit when it ripens around October. If you can harvest any before the birds have pecked it all away, you can make delightful fall floral arrangement with the boughs. Bittersweet adapts well to most soil conditions and can reach a height of 6 to 10 feet at maturity.
Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus) I like the highly fragrant reddish brown flowers on this dense, rounded deciduous shrub. The birds like the urn-shaped fruits that are really seed capsules, developing in early fall and often lasting well into the winter.
By the way, this shrub is sometimes called Strawberry Bush because the blooms smell a bit like a combination of strawberries, bananas and pineapple. Even the leaves are pleasantly fragrant when you bruise them to release the aroma. Planting Carolina Allspice near a window or around a patio would be a good way to enjoy the fragrance and the birds.
Flowering Crabapples I particularly like two varieties named Robinson Crabapple and Centurion Crabapple. The former is the faster growing of the two and sports distinctive pink blossoms. The Centurion has a rose-red flower and, with a mature height around 25 feet, is a good choice for landscaping or alongside a driveway.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) Spicebush produces shiny red berries (called drupes) that are attractive to a variety of birds including American Robin, Northern Bobwhite and the Great
Crested Flycatcher. Spicebush can make a very pleasant hedge when planted about 3 feet apart. It has a mature height of 3 to 6 feet and produces fragrant yellow-green flowers in early spring.
Viburnum Cardinal Candy (Viburnum dilatatum) Yes, I've told you about this one before, but definitely worth mentioning again! This Viburnum produces masses of shiny scarlet-red fruit that really is "eye candy" and seems to be a bird's version of a candy treat, too. The fruit starts appearing in late summer and quite often can still be seen in early spring the following year. By May, the branches are covered by creamy white flowers and the process begins all over again.
Red Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) This dense, thorny shrub produces both leaves and fruit that are delightful shades of red. As well as food, this bush can provide a safe haven for birds as the thorns will usually deter the neighbor's kitty from plunging in too recklessly.
Arnolds Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera arnolds red) The birds and the bees - well, definitely the bees anyway - will be drawn to this Honeysuckle that seems to grow well in just about any soil type short of a swamp. With bright red blooms in spring, it is tough as well as attractive, and makes an ideal screen or hedgerow with a mature height between 6 and 10 feet.
And be sure to provide fresh, clean drinking water for your birds to enjoy after all their munchies!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, including archived columns, visit www.landsteward.org
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Wash your car until it's immaculately clean, then wax it. Birds will come immediately.
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A wide variety of micro climates. In other words big trees, small trees, big bushes, small bushes, grasses and of course water.
Bill
--
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
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