Now that autumn's here, it seems to be 'clean-up' time in the garden. But did you know that leaving some 'mess', at least for awhile,
greatly helps the birds?
Birds feed on bugs they find on plants, in healthy soil and mulch, on berries and other fruit, and on the seeds which form after flowers finish blooming. What we consider messy areas needing clean-up are actually great foraging places for birds. In fact, birds depend on finding these sources of nourishment more than ever right now. Due to the prolonged drought and continued urban expansion, less is available for them in the wild. So instead of raking or sweeping away spent leaves, let them stay on the ground. Instead of deadheading (removing) spent flowers, keep at least some of them place for birds to dine upon! Many CA natives, as well as other plants, provide seeds which birds need and enjoy. The plant and bird photos shown here were taken at Ashby Community Garden in Berkeley - a delightful, free-flowing, rustic, bountiful place, where food for humans grows, along with a smorgasbord of yummies for our fellow creatures. (With soft and permeable sheet-mulched pathways and deep, healthy soil, this garden thrives despite the drought.) Birds, butterflies and CA native bees abound among various yarrows, salvias, scabiosa, yellow dock, echinacea, buddleia, feverfew, CA sunflower, CA asclepias, tithonia and lavender, to name just a few plants which have free and 'messy' range. At one point recently, about 20 little birds (Bush tits, perhaps?) sat on a dry fennel stalk, eating well and loudly singing out their gratitude! Tall stalks of various sorts serve a vital purpose in and of themselves, giving birds places to land, safely out of reach of predators. Please remember to put out a bit of water for them somewhere in the garden, and of course do feel free to lighten your garden-chores load by leaving it for the birds!
Creating Sanctuary for Birds, Bees, Butterflies & People": Alisa Rose Seidlitz, BFQDP, CGBP, GreenAP, Designer, Educator & DIY Coach helps happy clients make their garden dreams come true. Her expertise in Western Feng Shui brings an additional deeply nourishing, client-supportive level to her work throughout the Bay Area.
Alisa Rose is the owner of Loving Garden Designs and Ambience Eco