Here’s a sweet way to dress up your garden for the winter: bundle up old flowering perennials with burlap ribbon and leave the seeds for the birds. You will nourish wildlife and, come spring, it’s easy to cut the plants back as new growth appears.
And be sure to get your free Fall Gardening Checklist with handy reminders for this time of year.
Seed Pod Bouquets for Wild Birds
This is a trick I’ve been doing for years: create seed pod bundles!
It’s a name I made up, a totally simple idea, and takes just seconds.
Here’s why I like them.
The leftovers of the fall garden—old flowering perennials, seed pods, foliage, and other decaying riffraff provide vital winter nourishment and habitat for all the creatures that bring life to the garden.
But, when plants like coneflowers (Echinacea) are tall and floppy, as snow and rain come down, they bend and break or get buried. Not a big deal—I’m sure nature would cope—but also not as easy for the birds to perch and dine on the seeds.
My remedy is to tie them in bundles right in the fall garden.
How to Make Seed Pod Bundles
Wrap natural twine or burlap ribbon around the entire plant, about halfway up the stems. Sometimes I also add a stake for more support.
The burlap ribbon in the photo (below) has wired edges and can be reused year after year.
You could also kick it up a notch and create ornate bows if you so choose for winter decor. Personally, I like my nature more natural, but your garden-your choice.
Not only do the bundles look sweet but it makes the whole thing more stable for birds to land and dine.
Plus, with the stems bundled, I can easily get around the garden bed for end-of-season weeding and mulching.
Love crafting with natural materials?
You might enjoy Naturally Crafty—see it here.
Then, come spring, when the new plant growth is emerging from the soil, cut back each bundle in one easy go.
Beautiful and useful—just as things should be.
And you can reuse the twine / burlap again next time.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
Attracting Wild Birds to Your Garden
Just like us, birds need food and shelter.
- Grow a diverse selection of plants including flowers, trees and shrubs that support the web of life.
- Grow bugs. Many bird species eat a lot of insects and other invertebrates.
- An eco-beneficial garden is a “messy” garden: dead and decaying things nourish life.
- Provide fresh water. Puddles and ponds both help.
- Avoid the use of any products toxic to birds and their food sources including caterpillars.
- Keep pets out of your garden.
- Decorative birdhouses are not safe for birds.
- Use nesting boxes intended to safely house specific bird species.
- If using feeders, provide clean fresh water and the right types of seed.
- Clean bird feeders frequently. Remove feeders immediately if you notice any sign of disease or problems like salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis, or avian pox are reported in your area.
TIP: Use a wildlife camera with a motion sensor in your garden to get a candid look at life in your garden.