Whether you have an established, bird-friendly garden already or you’re just getting started with birdscaping, now is a great time to plant!
It’s true that spring is known for the start of growing season, but fall also has some benefits. To start with, you can pick up some great deals on plants. In addition, you can get plants in the ground now before frost to give them a jump-start for next year.
See also: How Birds Help Your Garden
If you’re looking to add to your garden, here are six plants to pick up right now:
Whenever someone asks for a good tree recommendation to attract birds, dogwood will always be on the list. There are so many options for dogwood, ranging from shrub-like sizes to 20 feet or more. It truly offers four-season appeal with flowers, foliage, and fruit.
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is one of the most popular options, and it lights up the gardens in spring with its beautiful blooms. Redtwig dogwood (C. sericea) is also popular because of its compact size and beautiful red branches. When picking a good dogwood for your yard, go to your local garden center and talk to the staff. They will likely be able to recommend a variety that works best in your area.
The peak season for sedum is fall, so this is the perfect time to discover and plant new varieties. You can find so many different types of sedum, so read the labels to find one that suits you. Seriously, there are so many great colors and options to choose from. The foliage of sedum can be gorgeous shades of purple, green, yellow and more. You probably won’t be able to pick just one!
Birds will eat the seeds of sedum, so resist the urge to have a neat and tidy garden for fall clean-up. Instead, leave them up throughout winter so birds can keep feeding on them. In addition, birds have also been known to eat the stems to get at the water within the plants.
Often overlooked, ornamental grasses are a staple in any bird garden. Not only do they look great year-round, but they also provide food, habitat, and nesting material for birds. The world of grasses is huge, so be sure to check plant labels at the store for light needs and overall size. Just a few plants can go a long way because they multiply so quickly year after year.
Ornamental grasses are also a good candidate for one of fall’s best gardening tricks—dividing perennials. While a lot of people think of dividing and sharing plants in spring, later summer and early fall are also good times of the year. After perennials are established (usually two or three years in), you just split the plants and relocate. Ornamental grasses are perfect for this, so start asking around to see who might have some to split.
This is the time of year to buy perennials like coneflowers (Echinacea) online or at your local garden center for serious discounts. You can often pick up plants at 75-percent off (or more), which means you will be able to buy a lot more to fill in your garden.
Just plant them as you would in spring, giving them plenty of water to get established. Then, mulch for some added protection and insulation over winter. While coneflowers are definitely a favorite with birds by offering nectar and seeds, keep an eye out for other great perennial deals too. Black-eyed Susans, phlox, asters, tickseed and bee balm are some other favorites.
See also: How to Grow a Bird-Friendly Garden
One of the reasons gardeners love growing elderberry is because they produce fruit so quickly. A lot of times, shrubs can take years to finally produce fruit, but with elderberry, it’s usually only a year or two. This is good news if you are trying to create a bird-friendly garden. The little blue/black fruit can also be used for jellies, jams, and wine. You can also just leave it all for the birds—they surely won’t mind!
Elderberries grow best in pairs so they can cross-pollinate one another. If you want to add elderberry to your yard, look for the botanical name (Sambucus). You can definitely get one in the ground before frost.
This is another one that can be considered a shrub or tree based on the variety you grow. The botanical name for serviceberry is Amelanchier. You should definitely be able to find options right now at your local garden center.
Serviceberry is easy to grow and reliable for a long time. By adding one to your yard, you know you’re supporting bird populations for many years to come.
If you thought your gardening was over for the season, it’s definitely time to rethink that plan. With so many great plants and money-saving opportunities, the garden center is certainly in your future. Now get out there and start planting before frost!