I am still on a wild bird kick.. This spring, I am going to make an extra effort to ramp up my bird attracting plants. Here are a few of the annuals I am going to incorporate into the Herbary. I recently tore apart the front yard beds to build a deck off the front porch. I will be adding pots to the deck, and will prune the Flowering Cherry a bit to allow more sun in that back bed. Last year I had a huge stand of Calendula and loved it, hopefully they will be even thicker this next spring!
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus and C. sulphureus.)
One of my all time favorite flowers. I love their simple look and ease of growing. They are a sun loving plant, yet can also handle some shade. Don't worry if you don't have the best soil in the world, these babies can grow in just about any soil condition. The Cosmos are attractive to seed eaters and insects. The classic color are pink, but you can them in pinks, reds, orange, yellow and white. They have a long bloom season, summer to fall.
Hollyhocks (Alcea roses)
Hollyhocks come in an array of co,ore; Whites, Scarlett's, purples pinky and yellows. They are
tall and have a long season of color blooming mid summer to early fall. The large bright showy flowers are a fan favorite of hummingbirds and other nectar feeders. Planting in well drained soil, and remember Hollyhocks self sow readily.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum manus)
Nasties the best addition to just about any garden! They are beneficial in gardens, pots, or as a screen. So many different colors to choose from; whites, yellows, oranges, reds, purples and even black! The trumpet shaped blossoms attract hummingbirds. Nasturtiums have a long blooming season, summer until frost. Sow directly in the garden after the last frost.
Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
So called because colonists used to toss it's marigold like flowers into cooking pots to add the blooms deep orange color to rice and other dishes. Calendula also can be found in yellows, creams and red blooms. Remember to deadhead this plant and you will get blooms from summer to frost. Don't forget to let some plants to go to seed to provide food through the fall.
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)
Sunflowers attract Jay's, chickadees, and other seed eating birds. There are many different types of sunflowers both annual and perennial sunflowers. We have both in our garden, and really like to add the annual sunflowers to our pots. Sunflowers have large showy daisy like flowers of yellow, orange, and cream with very large, flat eyes on a thick stalk. Sow after the last frost, or plant in trays and get a quick start on the season. Sunflowers bloom from Midsummer to mid autumn.
And my last favorite annual is Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
These make the best cut flower! It's fragrant pink, purple, red white or bicolored flowers make it a favorite amongst gardeners. The tufted deep green foliage contrasts nicely with its bright blooms. Sweet William self sows readily and provides food for many seed eaters. It's not a tall plant, 10-18 inches and blooms from late spring to summer.