A Woody Landscape For Birds

A Woody Landscape For Birds

Part of Ep. 804 More Landscaping for Birds

Visit with Landscape Architect Lisa Walters as she explains how defining specific goals set the groundwork for this Whitefish Bay garden.

Premiere date: Dec 30, 2000

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
We've already talked about how Pagoda Dogwood and other trees and shrubs will attract birds to your backyard. Now, we're going to put them all together into a home landscape. This is a front yard in Whitefish Bay, and I'm with and I'm with the landscape architect who designed it, Lisa, of Schreiber Anderson Associates of Madison. Lisa, you said this was installed by the Bruce Company of Madison.

Lisa:
Yes, it was.

Shelley:
With very specific goals in mind.

Lisa:
Yes.

Shelley:
What were the goals of the homeowners?

Lisa:
The homeowners wanted both privacy, it's a very busy street...

Shelley:
I can hear that.

Lisa:
They're near retirement and so, they like to spend as much time outdoors with birds as they can.

Shelley:
So, everything was supposed to make us happy, as people, and the birds.

Lisa:
Right.

Shelley:
Okay, let's start out with this low-growing shrub here. I really like the texture of it.

Lisa:
Yes, this is a Fragrant Sumac. This is creating the carpet in the landscape room. And the shrubs and other trees provide the wall. And then the canopy provides the ceiling.

Shelley:
So, just like a room, we have the tall, medium and then down here, the low. Does this get the same fall color as other sumac?

Lisa:
Yes, it has a gorgeous red fall color. And it also has fruit here.

Shelley:
These little things?

Lisa:
Yes, the birds like the seeds in there. It also provides ground cover for them.

Shelley:
They can creep right under there. Now, River Birch, one of my preferred. I love the bark in the winter and I know the catkins provide seeds for the birds in the winter. Tell us about why you planted these like this.

Lisa:
Again, these are providing some privacy. They're grouped together to protect each other. And the mulch and shrubs around here also protect the roots, keeping it moist and cool.

Shelley:
So, they like a moist, cool climate.

Lisa:
Right. They don't like to be right in the lawn.

Shelley:
Now, Arborvitae, for year-long interest and year-long shelter for the birds.

Lisa:
Yes, and they're also providing a function for the owners, privacy. They screen headlights coming from a parking lot.

Shelley:
So, they had lights right here and this wall is stopping that. Does it cut down on the noise at all?

Lisa:
Yes, it does.

Shelley:
On of the many Viburnums.

Lisa:
This is a Blackhaw Viburnum. This viburnum has shiny leaves. And this is green now, but it's going to be a fresh purple in the winter.

Shelley:
Birds like this?

Lisa:
Yes.

Shelley:
Will we get fall color in the leaves for the humans?

Lisa:
Yes, all the viburnums have a wonderful maroon to burgundy fall color.

Shelley:
This is already starting to color. Look at some of these leaves. They're glowing almost.

Lisa:
Yeah, this is a glossy Black Chokeberry. It will have a bright red to orange fall color and a black fruit that is hard now, but it will soften up in the spring. The birds can get it then.

Shelley:
So, that's a late season. We get winter interest with the berries all winter then, too. Now, this one I think is fairly commonly used, but you have something behind it that isn't used as often.

Lisa:
In these dry, shady situations, I like to use Snowberry. It has a white fruit that's kind of unusual. It can get fairly large and it provides food in the winter.

Shelley:
For the birds, okay.

Lisa:
But it likes the dry situation under the trees. It can also control some erosion.

Shelley:
Now, this one, this has a texture that I like, these arching branches with the leaf pattern is striking.

Lisa:
Yes, this is Indiancurrant Coralberry. And it's just starting here. You can see it's green and in small clusters and going into the color for the fruit. But it's smaller, so it attracts different types of birds-- very easy to eat-- And it's just starting to go into fall color, from yellow to a watermelon tinge on the edge of the leaf.

Shelley:
So, more of a delicate fall color, not that burgundy of some of the other plants.

Lisa:
Yes, more subtle. And it has a nice mounded type habit. Again, it's good for cover for birds, but it creates a nice ground cover underneath your tree canopy.

Shelley:
So, this is going to spread out a little, too?

Lisa:
Yes.

Shelley:
Here's a tree I prefer looking at from a distance. This thing can be really painful.

Lisa:
This is Cockspur Hawthorn. And it's just going into fruit. It'll become loaded with red, glossy fruit when it matures.

Shelley:
Okay, a couple more years and we'll see more berries on it. Fall color to go with the fruit?

Lisa:
Bright red fall color. And it has, obviously, these long thorns, which creates a nice haven for the birds from cats and larger predator birds, as well.

Shelley:
So, the smaller song birds can perch up here and stay away from the bad guys. I don't think I'm going to climb it either! We've talked about fall color and fall and winter interest from the fruit. How does this landscape work in the spring?

Lisa:
All these native plants have good seasonal interest. There are flowers in the spring that provide nectar for humming birds or butterflies or bumble bees.

Shelley:
We get to look at, the birds like it and the honey bees and the butterflies, too. That's great. Thank you, Lisa. All the trees and shrubs are hardy throughout Wisconsin.

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