Wild bird habitats have been shrinking rapidly, but it’s easy to help restore some of that essential area right in your own backyard. So let’s get started!
1. Make a Plan
Decide on the size and shape of the area you will be planting. For a backdrop and built-in bird gathering area, a section or two of picket fencing will help define the area.
Keep it flexible and fun!
It’s best to keep the taller plants in the back next to your fence, the medium height plants in the middle, with the shorter flowers around the front of your birdseed garden area. Learn how tall the plants will get, space requirements, and how much light is essential for optimum growth. Also, take note of when they will flower to make sure there is something in bloom all season long.
2. Choose Your Site and Mix Your Soil
You’ll need a sunny location with well-drained organically enriched soil. Add your own compost, or buy one of the many commercially available products at your local garden center. I have access to sawdust that I add to my mix, as well as a little sand (horticultural sand, not builder’s sand), or perlite to guarantee good drainage. Adding peat moss will help strengthen the root systems.
If you start with a good garden soil, and then mix in organic components, your plants will reward you with lots of beautiful flowers and seeds. Make sure to water your plants every day until they become established. Using a slow-release plant food will ensure your plants get the nutrients they need all summer long.
Once your garden gets growing, it shouldn’t need as much water. The plants will provide their own shade, and will naturally crowd out weeds. However, if a weed happens to crop up, don’t worry. They also provide a great food source for the birds!
3. Go Shopping
When your garden is ready for planting and your backdrop is in place, it’s time for the fun stuff. Grab your list of annuals and perennials, and let’s go shopping!
Plants Suitable for Your Bird Seed Garden:
Sunflowers, Cosmos, Zinnias, Ornamental Grasses
Purple Coneflower, Bachelor Button, Mexican Sunflowers
Tickseed Sunflowers, Daisies, Love Lies Bleeding, Garden Balsam
Coreopsis, Aster, Marigold, Helianthus, Phlox, Anise Hyssop (Agastache)
Blanket Flower, Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Globe Thistle
Echinacea, Blackberries, Elderberries, Gaillardia, Bee Balm (Monarda)
Gloriosa Daisy, Amaranthus, Blazing Star (Liatris)
Festuca Grass, Miscanthus Grass, Indian Grass
Barberry, Guara, Mulberries, Viburnums, Hollies, Salvia
Ornamental Millet, Sage, Fennel
It’s important that you leave the seed heads standing so that your birds can enjoy searching their own special garden for little tidbits all fall and winter.
Also, some of the seeds will replant themselves automatically for next season.
Job well done. The important habitat you have created will go a long way toward helping wild birds survive and thrive. As a bonus, you’re sure to have a garden full of colorful singing feathered visitors!
Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive. Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape. Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Join the fun and visit today!