For the birds

Here, blueberries ripen slowly in shade that is far from ideal, but the quantity of berries is of lesser importance since I do not expect to harvest a single berry. Well, I might eat a few, if I catch them on the right day, but I long ago gave up and turned the harvest over to the neighborhood bird population.

No, I am not that kind hearted. For years I grew eight (I think) large blueberry shrubs, and didn’t leave a single berry for the birds if I could help it. Unfortunately, late ripening berries were often damaged by Japanese beetles, but by this time most had already been consumed, often a handful at a time while I was working in the garden.

Eventually, several of the shrubs declined in health, and when I decided to construct the large koi pond, I was not heartbroken knowing the remaining blueberries had to be removed. They were too large to transplant, so I planted much smaller ones in the only place that would fit them, too close I knew, sandwiched between a large blackgum and katsura.

One blueberry has been completely covered by the blackgum, so I don’t know if it has any berries, or if it’s even alive The other two are alive, but stretched for sunlight in a mishmash part of the garden where vigorous Mountain mint (above) fills any gap not otherwise occupied. It’s not an area to be particularly proud of, but birds enjoy the blueberries, and a variety of bees swarm to the Mountain mint for many weeks once it begins flowering in midsummer. This is just about as far back in the garden as it’s possible to go, so the mess is no concern. Still, I wish my grocery bill for store bought blueberries could be a bit lighter.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    I like that you’re letting the birds have the blueberries Dave and that the bees love the mint. 🥰. Nice post as always. Thank you! Have a good Fourth of July weekend. 🇺🇸

  2. Bridget says:

    I agree with Ruth and am happy for our native birds and pollinators! I have an Amalanchier that I leave for the birds and they appreciate the mid summer bounty. My yard is much too small for mint, but I try and plant native things free of neonics and attractive and blooming in succession throughout the season.

    1. Dave says:

      For whatever reason, my Amelanchier does not fruit, but still there’s plenty to keep birds satisfied.

  3. tonytomeo says:

    Mulberries were planted sporadically around the perimeters of some of the formerly vast orchards of the Santa Clara Valley, not for mulberry production, but to distract birds from the more important fruit within the orchards. Varieties were selected to ripen just prior to the important fruit. There were also those weird bird apartments that martens lived in. The apartments were not there to attract all birds, but to attract those who chased off the birds who ate the fruit. I don’t know what a marten is, but I do not think they are common anymore.

  4. Karen Gammon says:

    Glad that your birds have a happy place to eat…..if I had more room I would do the same in my garden.

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