Trees, Shrubs & Perennials for Birds in Western Massachusetts

Cummington, MA

This was a project where they were starting from scratch. The clients are avid birders whose only requirements for the landscape design were that it create a bird habitat while looking natural and full. To attract birds Jim used native plants like serviceberries, blueberry, elderberry and sugar maples to name a few. Since the garden was installed bird presence has increased, “…five times”. They installed a Goshen Stone pathway that allows access to maintain and access to experience and enjoy. Fall will usher in fantastic color from the sugar maples, blueberries, serviceberries and others. Trees, shrubs and perennials bloom throughout the season and the structure of certain plants, i.e. christmas fern, serviceberries, blueberry, maple trees, etc… create winter interest. The clients are able to maintain their own garden while periodically calling on Jim for onsite consultations for guidance.


Before: The design often begins with putting markers in the ground. The markers shown are marking where the bed border might be and where a path may go. Plant selection, proportion and budget are all influencing factors on how large to make a bed and if and where to put a path.


After (2 Years Later): One year later the garden is starting to fill in. The stone path invites guests to take a stroll. The three serviceberries are closer to the house and are on the garden’s edge. While the three sugar maples are planted further away on the south side of the house in the field.


Before: A good landscape design will integrate the house into the landscape while avoiding stark contrasts and radical changes of height, shape and texture. Sugar maples were planted out in the field to ease the transition from the field to garden to house.


After (2 Years Later): The depth of the the bed runs from between 8 – 18 1/2 feet. This is a good proportion in relation to the size and scale of the house.


Before: Copious amounts of compost were used because the soil around the foundation was dry and lacked adequate fertility. The stones were set on a gravel bed to aid in drainage and prevent any frost heaving. The clump serviceberries have also just been planted.


After (2 Years Later): This view is at the far end of the garden. You are greeted by drifts of goatsbeard, salvia and coneflower.


The burgundy foliage of the ‘Brunette’ Snakeroot adds adds color and interest to a shady corner.The burgundy foliage of the 'Brunette' Snakeroot adds adds color and interest to a shady corner.

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