Birds cannot survive on sunflower seeds alone! In fact, birds cannot survive on anything provided by man alone. They also require natural sources of food, water, and shelter if they are to nest, raise their young, and prosper. That became clear to me as I shared the details of my Bird-Sanctuary Fund Raiser with other birding experts. Soooo…
I decided to plant some native shrubs to our area and provide natural food and shelter for the birds. Yep! I decided to create a hedgerow.
What’s a hedgerow? A hedgerow is a hedge of wild shrubs and trees, typically bordering a road or field. And, hedgerows, if designed properly, can be an attractive and functional place for birds to nest or feed!
And, because planning is a critical first step to any success, I had to do some research. I wanted to identify the plants best suited for my design and since we already have plenty of seed-bearing trees on our property, and tons of juniper trees, I knew I wanted something that would bear more fruit. I also wanted shrubs that would provide for nesting, and I needed plants that were hardy for our garden region zone, zone 6.
After assessing the size of shrubs, zone hardiness, and blooming seasons, I narrowed my list to the following:
- Mountain ninebark
- Western Sandcherry
- Skunkbush Sumac
Doing some online research helped me make the final decision: the Skunkbush Sumac (3-leaf).
Then, I needed to design my hedgerow. On a recent flight back to New Mexico I carefully pulled out my favorite journal, set it delicately next to my plastic cup of red wine on the pull down serving tray, and proceeded to sketch out a few design options and location strategies. I mentally thought through the size and spacing of my plantings, whether or not staking would be required, how visible my design would be from our front patio porch and windows (for observational purposes and photographs), and what we could afford in terms of investment.
Next steps will be to walk my property to determine the best location and if my “plan” will work without major changes. And then a trip to the nursery!