Feed the Birds

Article written by Troy-Bilt brand ambassador Helen Yoest of Gardening with Confidence

 
Today, more than ever - except maybe in the 60s and early 70s - gardeners have taken note of the environment when gardening. With too much rain, no rain or extreme temperatures, we can garden more efficiently with sustainable gardening practices, such as converting your beds to a waterwise design, eliminating pesticides and letting nature do her job.
 
What can you do? Stop. Look. Listen. Take the time to evaluate your gardening practices.

 

STOP

Neither chemical nor organic pesticides are welcome in my garden beds. We use mechanical means - such as hand picking - or let the natural predators do that for us. Remember, even organic pesticides kill. It's not enough to say we are organic; rather, we need to focus on being pesticide-free and removing other dependencies such as fertilizer from our borders. Nature provides all that we need. Continually adding products promotes a dependency. Once dependent, it's hard to kick the habit. 
 
Are you watering excessively and inefficiently, or are your beds designed in zones, requiring less water the further they are from a water source? Where does your rainwater flow? Every property's topography is different. Know where your water goes. Can you divert or capture it?

LOOK

I can't think of a better way to start or end a day of work than a walk through the garden. You are rewarded with more than the pleasure of your pace; you can also keep a close eye on your plant needs. Regular surveys help spot problems early, before they become a real headache. Pulling a weed or two during a regular walk-through will save you the burden and hassle of having to get out there and weed. Pull them before they go to seed and you will free up more time to admire the garden instead of stressing over it.

LISTEN

A garden shouldn't be all plants and no play. Selecting plants that will provide food for the birds, bees and butterflies is just as important as providing dinner for your table. Indeed, without our pollinators, too few of our crops would receive the pollination to produce. Did you know it takes 11 visits from a pollinator to produce cucumbers with a straight, classic shape?
 
By providing for the birds, bees and butterflies, the sounds and sights of your garden will be equal in pleasure to the food on your table.

SIDEBAR

Bring in the pollinators.
 
Bird Gardens
American Cranberrybush, Viburnum trilobum
Cranberry Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster apiculatus
Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina
American Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis
Firethorn, Pyracantha spp.
Rose, Rosa spp.
Crabapple, Malus spp.
Holly, Ilex x attenuata 'Fosteri'
 
Butterfly Gardens
Parsley, Petroselinum crispum
Dill, Anethum graveolens
Sedum, Hylotelephium spectabile
Pentas, Pentas lanceolata
Butterfly Bush, Buddleja davidii
Lantana, Lantana camara
Phlox, Phlox paniculata
Zinnia, Zinnia elegans
Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena globosa
 
Hummingbirds, Bees and Other Pollinator Gardens
Bee Balm, Monarda spp. 
Lavender, Lavandula spp.
Spider Flowers, Cleome hassleriana
Salvia, Salvia spp.
Catmint, Nepeta spp.
Beardtongue, Penstemon spp.
Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum
Thyme, Thymus spp.