Fall Bird Gardening

Let things go this fall and the birds will thank you. Put your rake away and allow leaves to
gather where sparrows and brown towhees can scratch among them for
insects. Let your cosmos and sunflower
go to seed. Resist the temptation to
prune salvia—the flowers provide a welcome food source for hummingbirds in the
fall, and you can keep a natural shape by selectively pruning over the winter

Fall is an ideal time to plant native perennials. Try Pacific dogwood for a flowering tree
whose red autumn fruit will attract cedar waxwing, purple finch, and pileated
woodpecker. Toyon, also called
California holly, offers bright red or yellow berries throughout the fall and
winter that attract the western bluebird, the northern mockingbird, and the
wrentit. For color, add a few
perennials such as California lilac and California buckwheat. Native plant nurseries offer a wide variety
of perennials just in time for fall planting. Sacramento Valley gardeners might like to pay a visit to the next open
house of Cornflower Farms in Elk Grove (916 689-1015), and Freshwater Farms in
Eureka (707 444-8261) will tempt North Coast gardeners.

Pacific dogwood: Cornus nuttallii

Toyon: Heteromeles

California buckwheat: Eriogonum fasiculatum

California lilac: Ceanothus (many)