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Old Saturday 11th June 2005, 18:39   #1
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Any plant suggestions for new back yard in Alabama?

We are off to a good start with four birdfeeders...we've been here a month and we're in a woodsy area. Our lot was completely cleared of all it's trees but our back neighbor has atleast 10 big ones and two are diseased so we see lots of woodpeckers and nuthatches cleaning it far we've seen
Cardinal, Blue Jay, White-breasted nuthatch (thanks to the ID from you guys!), red-bellied woodpecker, house finch, hummingbirds, grackles? or some type of blackbird, mourning doves (closest we could ID...looks like one and has reddish feet), as far as I know we haven't seen any finches (we put thistle out). The thrill we've had is seeing one painted bunting (but it wasn't in our back yard...actually on the side of a street we take walks on...deep in honeysuckle brush...we all thought it was an exotic bird that had escaped...then found it in one of our books...sooo cool! There's also another brilliant blue bird flying around's solid blue and is a striking looked like a mountain bluebird but it says it doesn't live here...then I found a mention of an indigo bunting...I think that's what it was.)

Our backyard is not deep but is's probably about 30 feet deep and 120 feet wide. The only thing I've planted so far is confederate jasmine near our deck. I have planting areas all along the perimeter of the house and the neighbor behind us has a cedar fence running the width of our lot and I've saved about 5-6 feet there to plant trees/shrubs/etc.. Any suggestions for specific plantings that will widen my variety of wildlife? My grandmother is preparing cuttings of an angel trumpet vine and a double flowering kerria...both are climbing type plants and the hummingbirds love the trumpet plant. I'm just at a loss for good perching plants for some of these birds. I've got a japanese maple I'm moving from the front yard to the back and that's where my ideas end. Thanks for any ideas!!!


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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 00:05   #2
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Location: Cullowhee, North Carolina
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well, different plant species will attract different species of birds. really it depends on what bird species or group of bird species you want to attract the most. But some good overall plants for birds are Virginia Creeper, assorted holly species, especially possum haw, assorted virburnums, mulberrys, wax myrtle, blueberrys (highbush and lowbush), blackberries and more. all of these are native plants of the southeast. try to incorporate as many native plants as possible. Plant them in thickets too. Here is a good reading on native plants of the southeast that attracts different kinds of wildlife :Forest Plants of the Southeast and thier Wildlife Uses, revised edition, James H. Miller and Karl V. Miller, copyright edition 1999, revised edition 2005. Also check this one out: The Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher: Birdfeeders and Bird Gardens by the National Audubon Society, 1999. You can probably get both of these off Amazon .com at a reasonable price. Hope this helps!!
Mike McCloy
North Carolina 2011 List: 165
Latest: Red-breasted Nuthatch
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Old Sunday 21st August 2005, 20:49   #3
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I know it has been a couple of months since you posted your question on plants for your backyard, but I just registered on the Forum. The good news is that September starts tree and shrub planting season. So you still have time to research what you want to put into your gardens. Youngbirder92's advice is excellent. I am just going to suggest some additional sources. The first is "Gardening with Native Plants of the South" by Sally and Andy Wasowski. A great resource, it is arranged by size and type of plant (large deciduous trees, large evergreen trees, etc.). So as you look at your yard and decide I need a large tree there, a small shrub there, and a medium size tree there, you can go to the section of the book covering that size plant and look at the possibilities. Next up is "Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens" by Thomas Pope, Neil Odenwald, and Charles Fryling. It specifically answers your question of what plants will attract which birds. It has two sections. One section covers birds you can attract to your yard and lists the plants that benefit them. The second section discuss plants and lists the birds that will feed on it. Last but not least, try to get a copy of "Native Gardening in the South" by William R. Fontenot. Bill is one of the great plantsmen, birdwatchers, and conservationists of Louisiana. His book is a wonderful read, but it is self published. To get a copy, contact Bill at Prairie Basse, 217 St. Fidelis, Carencro, LA 70520, 318-896-9187. Finally, if Alabama has a Native Plant Society, consider joining it. Through it, you will meet the folks who really know the native plants of your area and probably the nurseymen who grow them for the landscaping trade. Good luck and happy planting.
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Old Sunday 21st August 2005, 21:42   #4
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Thank you!!!

WELCOME Wildwing!!! This is a great forum to learn from! :) Thank you both for such great book suggestions! I can't wait to find them and have just joined our local botanical society so hope to find more information through my visits to their gardens. And you're right, Wildwing, I will do all my planting in the's just too sweltering out there to even think of it!!! :)

Thank you both!
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