Backdrop for Birds and Bees
Yesterday we had over 4 inches of rain, today a blend of rain/snow (not sticking, yet!). Had to think hard about what I could share with you today, because I haven't had new pictures in a week!
So you are getting an introduction to my "thicket," which was designed primarily for birds, but has also benefitted other pollinators.
Blob number 1 is the edge of a true native --
, or American Witch Hazel. This poor little specimen almost didn't survive its first year under the black walnut. Moving it to its present location gave it a new lease on life and provides some foundation of a bird habitat between us and our neighbors to the west. This is a scrappy little tree, but it will never be classically beautiful. What it will do is (possibly) provide too much shade for the arrowwood viburnum beside it (blob #2). So this winter will see some careful pruning, to ensure that the branches don't achieve a density that would rob the viburnums of the sun they need, while still providing cover and fruit for birds.
Speaking of blob number 2, this coming year will probably witness them reaching their mature height of eight feet. They have already begun some modest suckering, which will help to establish a proper "thicket" from the original three plants. These are the cultivar "Blue Muffin," which fruits well with proper sun, though some may find that a second variety somewhere near it will improve fruit production. While the tulip poplar tree back behind them robs them of afternoon sun, that particular tree is not at all healthy... eventually more sun will be available. Native viburnums are huge favorites of our songbirds and many small mammals. Their pollination, however, is carried out by various flies, not bees.
In front off all three blobs are some simple happy homeowner plants--daylilies, creeping thyme, foamflower--if there were room for an intermediate height plant between the low growers and the shrubs, we would add it--unfortunately, there is no room. Boo Hiss!
Which takes us to blob number three. This is the goldenrod cultivar "Fireworks," which grows to about four feet tall. Beats the six to eight of the native in my small space! Goldenrod spreads readily, but from what I can tell, the Fireworks is not spreading via seed. Strictly from the base of the original plants. The goldenrod makes soooo many pollinators happy in fall you simply must put some somewhere. Really! Goldenrod also attracts birds, though I have not seen birds using the cultivar. It may be that seeds are sterile and of no use for them. What you see in this image will be pruned to the ground, shortly.
And here's the thing--just one plant of either of these two habitat stand outs (viburnum, goldenrod) isn't going to provide "habitat." You've got to give them space to become bigger blobs in your garden so that they have enough resources to share with all of the lovely creatures who'd like to come invade your space.