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Ann Johnson Design | the blog

Winter Garden Plants For The Birds

I have a guaranteed recipe for success. Try some of these plants to brighten up your winter garden for the months ahead. These plants were chosen for the Atlanta landscape area, as the final cut of the best of the best.

1. Evergreen Dogwood Cornus Capitata: The first time I saw one, it was covered with lush fruit from top to bottom in late fall. I ate one fruit, and it was love at first bite! Its taste is a cross between a raspberry and strawberry. A bit difficult to find, but you will be well rewarded for years to come if you find this beauty.

2. Winterberry Holly, Ilex Verticillata: In fall it drops its leaves, and puts on a brilliant show with its red berries. Varieties like Ilex v. ‘Winter Red’, Ilex v. ‘Berry Nice’, and dwarf varieties like Ilex v. ‘Red Sprite’ will entice your songbird habitat as a food supply.

3. Cardinal Candy Viburnum Dilatatum: "This Viburnum has an abundance of flower that becomes stunning fruit. “A GARDEN WITHOUT a viburnum is akin to life without music and art,” declares University of Georgia horticulturist Michael Dirr in his Manual of Woody. I would have to agree, and if I was a purist and wanted to go with a native it would be blackhaw (V. prunifolium) instead.

4. Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus Virginiana: Those that don’t have enough room for this giant, might want to consider the cultivar Burkii, which would make an ideal replacement. Not only is this a good food source, but it is used to provide shelter for raising young and protection from foul weather.

5. American Beauty Berry Callicarpa Americana: Is native to southeastern United States. Wild birds benefit from these berries as an emergency food source, after all their preferred berry sources have been exhausted.

6. Washington Hawthorn Crataegus Phaenopyrum: The abundant small flowers yield to many small round red fruits that persist throughout winter and are eaten by birds. This is one of the showiest and most desirable hawthorns for planting.

7. Canadian Yew Tsuga Canadensis: Although sometimes difficult to establish, this evergreen tree is worth the effort. This plant offers twofold for birds. Their seed as food and also affords an excellent thick cover of protection from its predators such as crows and falcons.

8. Crabapple Malus Angustifolia Michx: is rarely found in nurseries, an usually propagated by grafting a whip. But if you are inclined to cultivars one of my personal favorites is Malus 'Dolgo', which sports pink fruit, and has stunning white flowers. I have seen mature specimen covered from top to bottom with gorgeous red berries. Birds and wildlife love them too, so expect to see them nibbling on fallen fruit.

9. Southern Magnolia, Magnolia Grandiflora: A native that is going by the wayside unfortunately but can still be found in nurseries. Little Gem Magnolia, is a good cultivar.The cone-like fruits contain bright red seeds and are a source of food for birds.​

10. Japanese Rose Rosa Rugosa: One of the trouble free roses, fruit often persisting long into winter. 42 species of birds attracted to these.These plants also provide great cover and nesting sites for many songbirds.As much as we love plants, we also love helping people place these unique plants into their existing landscape.​

Fairy Magnolia Blush: I have saved the newest, and possibly the best for last. check this out!

Our job is to make it easy for you to enjoy your garden and help you with expert advice.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more assistance. 770-426-7007

Links to other Bird Sites

My personal local favorite:

Bird Watcher Supply Company

2615 George Busbee Pkwy NW

Kennesaw, GA 30144

Birds: Our Beautiful Garden Allies, a Spring Valley Roses In the Garden Magazine article

Bird Source: Find out more about birds North American birds at this site sponsored Cornell University and the National Audubon Society

Project FeederWatch: Be a part of science and track the birds in your backyard. Sponsored by Cornell University and the National Audubon Society

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