Shrubs for Bird Garden Design
American Beautyberry Callicarpa americana. Not only will beautyberry be useful in a landscape design, it is also wildlife friendly and a best pick for a southern bird garden. In late spring and early summer clusters of small pink flowers appear which will attract butterflies and pollinators. In fall the lavender drupe berries are a food source for over 40 species of garden songbirds. Beautyberry has a loose, open habit and is best suited for an informal hedge or border.
Blackberries are a backyard crop you can plant for yourself to eat or they may be included as a songbird garden plant. They would provide a great summer food source for nesting birds! Be sure to include nesting sites in your bird garden plans. Blackberry does well in Georgia and may be trained upon a trellis or left to for a natural colony. Backyard birds would prefer the colony form to provide additional nesting sites. Thornless blackberries will handle a hard pruning to ensure that bushes grow thick and full the following season.
Rabbiteye Blueberry can be grown as a crop food for you but is also the perfect plant for birdscaping. The berries ripen in summer when few food sources are available to fruit eating songbirds including catbirds, thrushes, and robins. The spring flowers will also bring pollinators to your garden. While most people think of blueberry as a crop plant, don’t underestimate their ornamental value in a landscape design! The fall color alone makes this shrub worth planting in an informal hedge or woodland edge. See more: Blueberry Bush.
‘Hiromi’ Cherry. There are many cherry tress which will attract birds and one of our favorites is ‘Hiromi’. It can have a dwarf weeping form or may be allowed to grow as a shrub. At 6′ -7′ it is a great solution to a small space garden. The lovely pink flowers in spring are a favorite of early butterflies and pollinators, then in fall the fruit is eaten by birds. The cherries are small and sour, humans may not appreciate the taste but birds will. ‘Hiromi’ is a great way to have an attractive landscape which is also wildlife friendly. See more: Cherry Trees.
Chokeberry is a beautiful small, native shrub to add to a landscape. It features an open, vase like shape, lovely clusters of white flowers in spring and outstanding fall color. The delicate spring blooms not only look lovely, they will attract pollinators to a backyard habitat. Fall brings red berries which need to go through a few freezes before eaten, however they are a late winter food source for birds when few fruit are available. A bird friendly plant for any habitat plan.
Inkberry Holly is a native cross over plant which is valuable in a formal landscape and also wildlife friendly. A slow growing, evergreen shrub, inkberry may be used as a specimen or in a formal hedge. The blue black berries will remain in winter but eventually be consumed by mockingbirds, thrush and other species. Native. See more: Holly Bushes.
Winterberry Holly is a deciduous native holly which produces bright red berries along the stems and are known for being the classic Christmas berry. Beautiful in a landscape design, they will brighten your winter garden. Planted in mass, winterberry makes a wonderful informal hedge along a property border or edge, in a hedgerow or to cover drainage ditches. This plant is very attractive to a variety of garden songbirds! After the berries have gone through a few freezes they will be eaten by over 40 species of backyard birds, including bluebirds. See more: Holly Bushes.
Thornless Raspberry is an easy to grow backyard food crop for yourself, but if you did not wish to grow them to pick, you could plant raspberries as a food source for birds. Thornless raspberry will bear a prolific volume of berries for and ours are not the invasive raspberry species that you see growing along the road sides, They can be kept within an area with an annual pruning.
Spicebush 6- 12′ with a wide, rounded shape. Blooms in early spring. Spicebush is a dioecious shrub with male and female flowers on separate plants. Female plants produce a bright red berry with a high fat content. This fat content makes it a healthy choice for birds! Female plants will need a male pollinator in order to set the red fruit. Good fall color in yellow-orange. The foliage on spicebush is aromatic. It is also the host plant for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly, making this shrub a must have for a habitat garden.
Summersweet is a must have for the scented garden with its spikes of delicate, highly fragrant flowers. During the summer, hummingbirds will be attracted to the flowers. Be sure not to prune the seed heads back in the fall and you will be rewarded with robin, goldfinch, and warblers feasting on the seeds. Summersweet is a great pick for a shady landscape. Our nursery carries both pink and white flowered cultivars. Native to the southern, northeastern and eastern United States. See more: Clethra Summersweet.
Viburnum nudum. Our native viburnum is a highly attractive shrub along with being wildlife friendly. Spring flowers are flat topped clusters which will attract butterflies and pollinators, and the glossy green foliage adds beauty to an ornamental landscape. Fall berries start out pinkish white and then turn a deep metallic blue. They won’t last long as over 50 species of birds will eat them.
Southern Wax Myrtle. A much underused, semi evergreen native shrub or small tree for southern landscapes, wax myrtle can be left to grow naturally as an informal privacy hedge or shaped into a stunning multi stem shrub or small tree. The leaves have a spicy fragrance which is wonderful after a summer rain. Southern wax myrtle provides nesting sites for birds and is a valuable food source for warblers. Native.
Native Switchgrass comes in different heights so there can be a cultivar suited for large or small spaces. This plant is valuable in a bird garden for several reasons. Some birds prefer to nest in grasses so Switchgrass will offer them home sites. The dried blades are often used as nesting material allowing birds something to build their homes with. During the winter months, seed heads offer songbirds a much needed food source. For varieties we carry, see Grasses.
Trees for Bird Garden Design
Hollywood juniper ‘Torulosa’ tree 15′. Unusual tree known for twisted, upright shape and deep green needles. Hollywood juniper ‘Torulosa’ has an uneven growth pattern which makes it a striking pick as a specimen plant. Pretty blue berries appear in fall which will attract birds to your backyard habitat.
Dogwoods. What southern landscape is complete without a native dogwood tree? From the beautiful spring flowers that light up a yard to the gentle summer shape and, striking fall foliage and bright red berries, dogwoods provide multi season interest. They are also highly attractive to birds with a reported 90+ species which will eat the fruit. See more: Dogwood Trees.
Southern Magnolias are not only magnificent native trees, they offer shelter and protection for wildlife and a food source in winter. Magnolias provide summer nesting sites for birds and in winter they are a favorite spot for roosting. The evergreen foliage makes magnolia a best pick for privacy hedges or as a specimen tree, and a perfect bird nesting site. In winter the bright red seeds are eaten by garden songbirds. See more: Magnolia Trees.
Black Gum ‘Wildfire’, black tupelo Deciduous Native Nyssa sylvatica 30′ – 50′. ‘Wildfire’ is a gorgeous selection of our native Blackgum and features bright red new growth in spring which dark green for summer. In autumn, foliage changes to a fiery shade of scarlet. ‘Wildfire’ will stand out in your landscape for fall color. It also produces small black fruit which will attract birds to your backyard and the attractive, furrowed gray bark offers winter interest. A native tree in the south and best pick for bird friendly yards.
Eastern Hemlock 40′ – 70′. Eastern hemlock, eastern hemlock spruce or Canadian hemlock. A dense, pyramidal conifer which is a member of the pine family. Eastern Hemlock is a beautiful native conifer which has graceful, sweeping branches and soft needles. It is an important tree for wildlife and the large size makes it ideal for privacy screens or where large evergreen trees are needed in a landscape design. Eastern hemlocks are found along river shores and moist areas of the woods making it a good choice for planting alongside ponds edges and creeks in a residential landscape.
Scarlet Buckeye, Native firecracker plant, red buckeye 12′ -15′. A deciduous small tree. Shade tolerant and will grow in damp or moist areas. Scarlet buckeye has large, showy red flowers in spring which are very attractive to hummingbirds. The unique foliage is palmately compound in a shiny, dark green color.
Crabapple. Every bird garden needs a crabapple tree and ‘Prairiefire’ is one of the best for both wildlife and ornamental value. As a small tree that only reaches 20′, a crabapple tree can be a best pick for the front yard. Beautiful pink flowers appear in spring, and the new foliage is a maroon purple. The crabapples will persist on the branches and offer winter food for over 40 species of garden songbirds. Catbirds, mockingbirds, flickers, robins and bluebirds love the crabapple fruit. The Kinsey Family Farm carries in B&B sizes only.
Sassafras. A bird garden needs a native sassafras. Not only is it fun to say, the birds love the berries and the fall color is beautiful in bright pastel pink, purple, orange and yellow. Sassafras is an aromatic small tree which usually only grows to about 30-40′ but if grown as an understory tree can stretch out to 60′. It will tolerate shade and may be grown under larger canopy trees. Sassafras will also tolerate clay soil and is drought tolerant, making it a great pick for southern landscapes. Water it well when young. Left to its own devices, sassafras will form multi trunk thickets. You can prune back suckers or let it form a colony depending upon your placement. It is also a host plant for Spicebush butterfly, Tiger swallow-tail, Pale Swallowtail and Palamedes butterflies. On female specimens, blue black berries appear in fall and the birds love them. Native.
Serviceberry Native serviceberries can be a beautiful addition to a landscape design and is suitable for use as a front yard specimen. Dainty white flowers in spring give way to medium green, attractive foliage. The fall color is outstanding and yo could plant serviceberry just for this reason. The small blueberry like fruit attracts over 40species of garden songbirds.