Here’s a sweet way to dress up your garden for the winter: bundle up old flowering perennials 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, totally simple, and takes just seconds, but 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.
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.
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.
Attracting Wild Birds to Your Garden
- Avoid the use of any products toxic to birds and their food sources including caterpillars.
- Grow plants, trees and shrubs for habitat and be messy: dead and decaying things nourish life.
- Keep pets out of your garden.
- Choose plants that provide food, nectar, or habitat for other living things.
- Birdhouses: Use as decoration only.
- Nesting Boxes: Choose species-specific designs.
- Bird Feed: Provide nutritious food.
- Bird Feeders: Clean frequently.
TIP: Use a motion-sensitive wildlife camera in your garden to see what goes on when you’re not there.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛