Grow your own birdseed
Feeding the birds is a pleasure but buying birdseed can get pricey, especially when the squirrels and chipmunks help themselves to everything you put out.
Mother Nature Network has an easy solution: Plant flowers that provide seeds for the birds. You can enjoy the flowers — in the garden and in vases in your house. Let some of the blossoms go to seed and your birds will be happy.
MNN’s top 10 flowers: aster, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, coreopsis, goldenrod, liatris, Mexican sunflowers, sedum, sunflowers and zinnias.
All of these are mid- to late-summer bloomers, so you’ll have to feed the birds now. But if you are a habitual bird feeder, you’ve probably noticed less activity around your feeder this time of year as our gregarious friends pair off and start the serious business of raising families.
Seven of the 10 flowers on MNN’s list are perennials (all but the zinnias and both kinds of sunflowers) so they’ll be back every year.
I just put in my zinnias and sunflowers, and I’ll let some of the blossoms die back in August and September. Until then, I’ll keep the birdfeeder full. It makes the squirrels so happy.
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Margaret Hartley is the Gazette’s Sunday and features editor. Greenpoint appears in the Gazette’s print edition Sundays on the Environment page.
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