It’s common to forget about planning a garden for winter interest, especially in areas of the country where winter becomes a vast white blanket of snow. We let the gardens sleep, for what sometimes happens to be literally months of plain white frozen land, forgetting that there are many beautiful possibilities that winter can bring in the garden. One of these possibilities centers around our wild friends on the wing. Yes, songbirds that live year round in winter wonderlands depend on what winter interest is out there during the toughest months of the year, and creating a beautiful winter garden directly benefits them. From offering not only beauty, but food and a warm place to sleep, creating a garden that’s lovely through the winter will also bring in those twittering winter jewels of life. Here are some easy tips on making a garden songbirds will love throughout the winter, that will also make your garden lovely and welcoming through the toughest months of the year.
Leave seed heads to persist through the winter. This is probably the easiest thing you can do to make your garden more interesting through the winter, which also leaves much appreciated sources of food for hungry birds when there isn’t much else to choose from. Plants like sedums, rudbeckia, coneflower, sunflowers, and ornamental grasses all produce seed heads that birds will enjoy eating from. And, the spikes of brown form break up the blanket of white, making the scenery more interesting. Remove the dead material in spring when the crowns of plants begin to wake again.
- Water is a much needed and appreciated attractant for birds, and in the winter can also be a very beautiful part of the garden. Many people can rely on having moving water in the winter that won’t freeze, by way of a beautiful fountain or bubbler in a pond. Others may need the extra added power of a heating element made for ponds, or a heated bird bath. A faithful, clean water source will attract more different kinds of birds than feeding them alone will. If there was any other reason than offering water of some kind, either through a small pond or bath than this would be it. It’s one of the most beautiful sights in the winter garden- birds circled around a steaming pool of water, taking refuge and enjoying a drink in the middle of the winter chill.
- Plant more evergreen shrubs and trees. In fact, juniper and thuja seems to be a favorite for most birds because of the structure and density of the foliage, and for the much appreciated greasy berries that persist through the winter. Many birds find refuge in a juniper or evergreen hedge during winter storms, even the lower growing types. In areas where much of the native vegetation is deciduous, you’ll find that the bushy and welcoming evergreen boughs will be havens for birds. Also, evergreens area very lovely through the winter.
- A few more tips on attracting songbirds.
Following these three simple steps will create a beautiful winter garden that’s also a haven for the songbirds, which will bring life into your winter landscape. You may find that you enjoy your winter garden the most with these ideas!