- Provide food for birds and butterflies. Include plants with flat daisy-like flowers like pentas, zinnias and cosmos to attract butterflies. For hummingbirds, include some plants with tubular flowers including nicotiana, cuphea, salvia and fuchsia. And don't forget about the hungry caterpillars that will soon turn into beautiful butterflies. Parsley, bronze fennel and licorice vines are a few favorites that make great additions to container gardens. You can even create containers that will attract seed-eating birds. Purple Majesty millet, coneflower, coreopsis and Rudbeckias will keep many of the birds returning to your landscape.
- Include water for both the birds and butterflies. It’s a key ingredient and a decorative small shallow container filled with water can be included in a large container. Or include a free-standing birdbath within your container collection. I used a bronzed leaf birdbath in just this way. It created a great vertical accent, added interest to a blank wall and provided a water supply for the birds.
- Give them a place to live and raise their young. Add a few evergreens, ornamental grasses and perennials to your container garden. Use weather resistant containers that can tolerate the extreme heat and cold in your garden. Then fill with plants that are at least one zone hardier. Or add a few birdhouses. These can be included in the container or mounted on a fence, post or nearby tree.
- Skip the pesticides, please. Nature, including the birds you invite into your landscape, will devour many garden pests. Plus, the chemicals designed to kill the bad guys can also kill the good bugs and wildlife you are trying to attract. And, if pests get out of hand, use more eco-friendly products like soaps, Neem and horticulture oil as a control mechanism. And, as always, read and follow label directions carefully.
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