April 1, 2012

Maine Gardener: Native birds do better with native plants

By Tom Atwell tatwell@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Few nurseries sell native Amelanchier plants, but you can grow them from seed gathered in the wild. You have to rub them with sandpaper to imitate the action of the seeds going through a bird's digestive system, though.

A member of the audience said he thought a lot of birds in his yard were eating snow. But Cullina said birch trees release tiny seeds all winter, and the birds are actually eating birch seeds on the snow.

Aronia is a trendy antioxidant juice right now, and the birds love them too. But the antioxidant marketers stay away from using the common name: Chokeberry.

Bayberries and juniper berries are popular with birds because they contain a lot of calories.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens theme this year is "Feathers and Foliage," and the gardens and Audubon will be collaborating on several other programs. For details, go to mainegardens.org.


MAINE GARDEN DAY, a daylong program coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will be May 14 at Lewiston High School, 156 East Ave.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and programs run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $50 a person and includes breakfast and lunch, a trade show and the chance to participate in up to four workshops.

Participation is limited to 350 people, and some of the programs are already filled. Several of this year's programs are related to self-sufficiency, including tending livestock, sharpening chainsaws and other tools and food preservation.

For details, visit umaine.edu/gardening/maine-garden-day or call (800) 287-1482.


Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth, and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at tomatwell@me.com


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