Wildlife brings movement, color and amusement to backyards across the DC region. Winter gardens that provide food, water and cover can expect visitors on the dreariest of days. Many feathered friends have diets that do not include bird food most often found in feeders. Attract more varieties of birds and, in warmer months, butterflies and pollinators, by adding a greater variety of plants and revising some of your garden habitats.
Consider plants that provide berries, seeds, and nuts. Some attractive canopy trees that are valuable food sources include; oaks, beeches, hickories, hornbeams and tulip poplars.
Evergreen American holly is excellent cover and food. Smaller trees such as dogwoods and sweet bay magnolias are understory trees frequented by hungry birds. Consider adding sculptural shrubs such as sumac, Winterberry Holly, and native viburnums.
Planting ornamental grasses (Panicum, Schizachyrium) provides cover and nesting material. The bronze color is also quite striking against evergreens. Leaving the spent flower heads on Echinacea and Rudbeckia provides sustenance (seeds) to birds even in the winter months. These plants are also a nectar source for butterflies during the growing season.
Consider designating a part of your yard as a natural zone. Leave the leaves and create a brush pile with the small branches that litter the garden after a storm. This will attract birds such as Wood Thrushes that feed on the insects found in decaying leaf litter.
By incorporating these native plants you are providing food and shelter to wildlife and are rewarded with a landscape that looks beautiful year round. Need an inventory of native plants residing on your property? How about some ideas to attract butterflies? We'll provide all the guidance you need to cultivate a haven for wildlife! Contact us at John Shorb Landscaping 301-897-3503.