I have already discussed the importance of helping the bees as much as we can in a past article as well as my chats with bee keeper Steve Lawrence on my radio show. I know that bird feeders may not be for everyone or every garden but I think every garden can have a few trees or shrubs that make the birds happy without sacrificing the design or low maintenance aspect that many of us prefer.
Here are some of my suggestions. In most cases these shrubs are native plants and in addition to producing berries that the birds love, they have spring flowers and fall colour making them truly great all season shrubs. I promise they are not messy.
Serviceberry: One of my favorites is the Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis). It is available in tree or shrub form and is very versatile in that it can be planted in sun or shade.
Pagoda Dogwood: Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) is a large shrub that can be pruned to stay as a shrub or left to grow into a wide multi-stemmed tree.
Winter Beauty Dogwood: These medium size shrubs are a good option for the back of a garden. They have interesting berries but have more natural forms. Winter Beauty Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea 'Winter Beauty') has nice pink berries but is really a showstopper in the winter with its bright orangey red stems.
Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle (Lonicera) flowers, berries and fragrance make it another nice addition to the garden, there are large and dwarf varieties.
Elderberry: I have fond childhood memories of my grandmother's Elderberry jelly and pies. Both the taste of it and the purple stain that lasted on her hands. Very tiny, seedy berries cover this shrub. It can grow quite large if it has the space and will look best at the back of the garden. If you are ambitious you can also collect the berries to make jelly but you will have to be ahead of the birds. One day the shrub will be filled with berries but the birds will strip it in a day.
Compact Highbush Cranberry: For those of us with small spaces there is also a great choice. Compact Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus Compactum) is a smaller compact shrub that provides berries for the birds while still providing the spring flower and fall colour that I love to have in a garden.
I hope one or more of these plants has piqued your interest and you will consider adding them to your garden.
Joanne Shaw is the owner and operator of Down2Earth Garden Design. A graduate of Ryerson University in Landscape Design, Joanne has over 15 years experience in designing gardens and more than a decade in landscape and related business, both for her own clientele and established local nurseries. Sign up here http://www.down2earth.ca/ to receive Joanne's free report "Seasonal Landscaping Tips" and as an added bonus you'll receive her monthly newsletter, "Down the Garden Path", providing useful tips and tricks for keeping your garden as low maintenance as possible.
Article provided by Joanne A Shaw