Here are a few suggestions of not-so-natives that I can't resist.Tea viburnum (Viburnum setigerum) is native to China. It grows 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Its blue-green, lance-shaped leaves are 3 to 6 inches long and turn reddish-purple before dropping in the fall. White flower clusters appear in late spring and give rise to spectacular bunches of radiant red berries that ripen in September and October. It has a lanky, informal habit, needs morning sun and light afternoon shade. It got its name from monks in China who used to make tea from its leaves.American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is fabulous. Its leaves turn yellow in the fall, and the stems are laden with the most hideously beautiful purple berries.Firethorn (Pyracantha sp.) gets its name from the blazing color of its thousands of berries and the needle-like thorns that guard them. It can get big - up to 10 feet tall and wide - but it loves to be pruned. It's evergreen and loves sun. Get a disease-resistant selection ("Victory" with dark red berries, "Apache," a compact grower with bright red berries, "Mohave," with orange-red berries, and "Teton," an upright grower with golden yellow berries.Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), a large shrub (6 to 10 feet tall and wide) In autumn, leaves turn yellow and drop, leaving stems covered with hundreds of shiny red berries that last all winter. It's a holly that loses its leaves!Sapphireberry (Symplocos paniculata). These berries are incredible - so bright blue, I've heard them called ultramarine. Whatever you call it, it's amazing. These prefer any acid soil in sun, and grow into a large, spreading shrub or small tree with deep green leaves, up to 20 feet tall.
Plant for the birds
To attract birds, be sure to plant a variety of sizes. The birds will probably nest in the bigger bushes. The bigger and fuller the bushes, the more habitat for birds. Buy different kinds of plants. You should always have at least one with thorns. Birds are more apt to nest in a thorny plant. You can also buy different types of trees, such as evergreens.
Evergreens will act as a shelter for the birds in difficult conditions.
Planting several of one species next to each other is attractive to birds. Planting evergreens close together is a good idea, because it will provide more shelter. If you trim the bushes and shrubs, put the clipped branches in a designated spot near the attraction. This will be another place the birds can go to be sheltered. Put the larger branches and logs on the bottom as a foundation, then pile it up as needed. Let the leaves and needles from the plants fall to the ground and leave them there. Do not rake them up. Insects and worms will thrive on the decomposing mulch, and this will be another source of food.
If you want to enclose your bird attraction area, consider creating a border. This could be a line of trees or a hedge.
Reach Sara Busse