Container Gardening for the Birds

Bird-friendly outdoor planterDressing up your outdoor planters and urns for the winter season is an easy way to add color to your garden and to provide a little more food for the birds and other small wildlife that make your garden home during the winter.


I made this container in only a few minutes, mostly with items I already had on hand. The planter is a recycled 1-gallon plant container. It’s not the fanciest vessel but it does the trick. I like that it doesn’t overpower or detract from the arrangement. The red-twig dogwood branches, sedum, and hypericum berries are also re-purposed. The sedum, an ingredient in several other seasonal displays this year, will be planted  in the garden in the spring.


The winterberry branches, from a local floral supply house, add a pop of color and will carry the display throughout part of the winter. The birds are already flitting about and grabbing a berry here and there.


Scout Your Garden for Goodies


Here’s another urn I created for a client. Most of the materials were found on the property — the black pine, white pine, arborvitae and juniper boughs dripping with berries were saved after a day of pruning. The winterberry and blue cedar branches were bought to add more berries for color and for the array of birds who make the garden their home.


Regardless of where you live, it’s simple to find local plant material that is ideal for creating  colorful seasonal planters. Remember to layer plant material, add different textures (conifers and broad-leaf evergreens are good choices), a little height (look for interesting branches) and some berries for a dash of color and food for the birds.


If you want to add some seed ornaments to your arrangement, check out this recipe from Country Living or this one  from the National Wildlife Federation.


Do you add any special treats for the birds to your outdoor containers?

7 thoughts on “Container Gardening for the Birds

    • Donna, I have the same issue with my berries. And I can’t grow winterberry in my garden since it is deer candy. I do love how a few branches instantly add some pizzazz to the arrangement though.

  1. These look so easy and so nice. The deer get all my winterberry fruits before winter even starts, so I thought of cutting some branches in early fall when the fruit first sets, then keep the cut branches to put out for the wildlife later in the winter. But I didn’t think of putting them in such eye catching arrangements!

  2. We put baskets of apples (the ones that did not make it into pies or sauce) on the front deck. They were meant as decoration, but the raccoons take a few every night. Keeping the birds in suet and seed is a daily chore. They strip most shrubs of berries early on.

  3. Pingback: Container Gardening for the Birds | Wildlife Garden |

  4. Thanks Debbie. You have a knack for arranging color and texture! I try to do this every year too for my larger non-clay pots. One thing I love is that I can take stem cuttings of my favorite shrubs like Ilex and Cornus, place them in the soil and as long as there is some moisture in the pot (or if I remember to water them) my stem cuttings root and whala, new shrubs!

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