making a garden for the birds

60-ISH SPECIES OF BIRDS visit my Zone 5B garden most years, apparently agreeing with me that it looks pretty appealing. Some are fair-weather friends; others visit only in the cold, but there is always something to attract someone.

I have the birds to thank for what is now a four-season garden, but aesthetic success was not my plan, or at least not a conscious one when I began digging holes 30 years ago on an overgrown, bramble-infested bit of land in Columbia County, New York. My 365-day garden style was actually a happy side effect—a total serendipity—precipitated by my love of birds, as I explained to the public-television program “Growing a Greener World” in their 2014 episode featuring my garden (video above; details on their site here).

Because birds’ needs vary seasonally, I unintentionally fell in love with plants that do more than flower momentarily. The genus Viburnum, for instance, became one of my original loves, as I sought summer, fall and even winter fruit to sustain avian visitors who were raising families, traveling onward, or staying warm—and got good fall foliage and springtime flowers, too. It was from such plants that I learned that the garden was willing to show off year-round, and also attract the maximum number of birds, if only I helped with a few strategic decisions. (My 365-day garden philosophy is detailed here.)

my top stories about gardening with birds


my series with the public-radio show birdnote:

birdnote logo

(Bird doodle by Andre Jordan for A Way to Garden.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.