Have you seen a bird today? Did you hear its song? Did you know that birdsong helps plants grow? The presence of birds and their songs lifts our spirits and raises the energy of our spaces. Keep reading to learn more about how to make your garden both feng shui and nature friendly by Alisa Rose Seidlitz.
You’ve probably heard that for good Feng Shui it is essential to get clutter cleared away, yes? Keeping clutter around usually drags us down. So you may be surprised to learn that sometimes, in some places, keeping “clutter” is literally essential for sustaining LIFE. Keeping it in our gardens and for the birds, that is!
As the seasons change, birds are migrating and clean-up is in full swing in the garden. However, did you know that leaving some clutter, some ‘mess’, greatly helps the birds?
Birds feed on bugs and worms they find on plants, in healthy soil and mulch, on berries and other fruit, and on the seeds which form after flowers finish blooming. What we consider messy areas needing clean-up are actually great foraging places for birds. In fact, birds depend on finding these sources of nourishment more than ever now.
Due to multiple factors, including urban expansion, drought or flooding, and use of pesticides, there’s much less available to feed upon in the wild. So our gardens become crucial habitat and food resources for birds, pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and other wildlife.
By doing less, by reframing what you consider mess, and by letting the ‘clutter’ stay awhile, you can truly help!
In urban environments and even in the suburbs, birds, like all living beings (including humans!) still need at least some ‘wildness’ to thrive!
A wide variety of plants provide seeds which birds need and enjoy.
- Instead of deadheading (removing) spent flowers, leave the seed heads in place for birds to dine upon.
- Instead of raking or sweeping away fallen leaves, let them stay on the ground, as birds love to forage there.
- Leave thickets of plants, even dry-looking, with spent flowers and all, as shelter.
- Dried flower stalks, too, offer great perches to keep birds safe, even during wintertime.
In addition to making meals, the ‘mess’ in your garden makes bird nests! They use dried grasses, twigs, plant stems, leaves, bits of bark, grass clippings and even animal hair to make their homes.
The above photos shown here were taken at Ashby Community Garden in Berkeley, California – a delightful, free-flowing, rustic and bountiful place, where food for humans grows, along with a smorgasbord of yummies for our fellow creatures. With soft and permeable sheet-mulched pathways and deep, healthy soil, this pollinator garden has continued to thrive despite the drought. Birds, butterflies, native bees and others abound among various yarrows, salvias, scabiosa, yellow dock, echinacea, buddleia, feverfew, sunflower, asclepias, tithonia and lavender, to name just a few plants which have free and ‘messy’ range. At one point recently, scores of little birds (finches, perhaps?) sat on a dry fennel stalks, eating well and loudly singing out their gratitude!
During dry weather, in every season, please remember to put out a bit of water somewhere in your garden for birds and pollinators (yes, pollinators also need sustenance year ’round), and of course do lighten your load of clean-up chores by leaving it for the birds!
That’s the BEST Feng Shui!
Alisa Rose Seidlitz is a longtime Ecological Garden Designer, Certified Green Building Professional, GreenAP for Interiors, Graceful Lifestyles Certified Interior Re-Designer, Flower Essence and Reiki Practitioner. Read more about Alisa Rose.