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Birds & Blooms

October/November 2021

Birds & Blooms is the #1 bird and garden magazine in North America with more than 1 million subscribers. We pride ourselves in celebrating the “beauty in your own backyard” with a mix of expert advice and personal stories from our family of readers. Our magazine covers a wide range of topics such as attracting hummingbirds, building birdhouses, gardening for butterflies, feeding birds for less, growing veggies, tales of readers’ birding experiences, plus a whole lot more.

United States
Trusted Media Brands Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
fall flowers and fliers

Mums in different colors and sizes line garden center shelves and make their annual appearance outside the entrances of local grocery stores this time of year. They’re popular—and for good reason! Chrysanthemums are tough and available in an abundance of autumnal hues; they also thrive in the cool temps sweeping most of the United States. Learn more about mums in “Fall’s Star Flower” on page 58. But if you want to garden beyond mums, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best plants for fall containers in “Perfection in a Pot” on page 10. They’re colorful, festive-looking and unexpected—my favorite is the Tiger Eye viola. With the heat of summer on its way out, it’s also time to pull your suet feeders back out of storage, clean them up and load them up with…

1 min
light up fall

Autumn Fire Sedum Hylotelephium spectabile, Zones 3 to 9 An easy plant for beginners, this sedum is drought tolerant, rabbit resistant and grows in poor soils. Autumn Fire is more vibrant than the well-known Autumn Joy, with a stout habit that’s less prone to flopping. Attracts: Light needs: Full sun. Size: About 18 to 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Grown for: Rich rosy-pink flowers that turn coppery red as they age. Foliage: Thick blue-green leaves on sturdy stems. Water needs: Soak thoroughly and occasionally once the plant is established. WILDLIFE BENEFITS The large rounded flower heads are a delight for butterflies from late summer well into fall. In winter, seed heads offer food for birds.…

2 min
a sweet southern song

Tiny and chipper, chickadees are among the first backyard birds that many recognize, thanks to their familiar, distinctive chick-a-dee-dee call. But a few things set the Carolina chickadee apart from the others. CLOSE COUSINS Carolina chickadees are found year-round in the southeastern United States, as far north as Pennsylvania and all the way west to mid-Texas. Their range overlaps a bit with the more northern (and slightly larger) black-capped chickadee in a very narrow zone that stretches from New Jersey to Kansas. Telling the two species apart in those areas can be tricky. Both have the same black caps and bibs, but Carolina chickadees have duller white coloring on the cheek patch and a bit less white on their tail and wing feathers. “The easiest way to tell them apart is by sound,”…

4 min
perfection in a pot

1 Tiger Eye viola VIOLA HYBRID, ZONES 4 TO 9 With distinct burgundy markings and dark veins on golden petals, these perennials live up to their name. A piece of garden art, they do best in full sun to partial shade. As a bonus, the vibrant flowers are fragrant and cold resistant. Plants get scraggly in summer; cut them back to encourage new blooms and divide them regularly. Why we love it: Each flower has gorgeous petals that are edible if they haven’t been treated with pesticides. QUENCH THAT THIRST Fall container plants still need to be watered once the weather cools, so keep soil consistently moist but not too wet. Check the moisture levels daily and water plants thoroughly when the top inch of soil starts to dry. 2 Onyx Red ornamental pepper CAPSICUM ANNUUM,…

2 min
save those seeds

You likely know the satisfaction that comes from harvesting vegetables you grew from seed. Now imagine how gratifying it would be to start with seeds harvested from last year’s fruit. Feel that sense of achievement by completing the growing cycle, in addition to knowing your produce’s quality and history firsthand. Follow these simple steps to store and replant seeds. Pick the Best Ones Some seeds must come from fresh, mature fruit, says Brian Sebade, a University of Wyoming extension educator. Winter and summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and tomatillos are all best when their seeds are harvested from vine-ripened and mature produce. But seeds from peas and beans are best picked after they’ve dried on the plants. The process hardens the seeds and makes them better suited for growing. Wash Carefully Remove seeds from each…

2 min
framing autumn

A flock of American robins landed on a large beautyberry bush in my backyard in November 2019. I enjoy this image, which I used a Nikon telephoto lens to capture, because of the colors and pose of the bird. Darryl Neill DECATUR, GEORGIA An adorable tufted titmouse enjoyed some corn at a feeding station in Dorothy Carnes County Park near Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. I don’t have titmice at my own feeders very often, so I was thrilled to spend some time with this little cutie. Barbara Houlihan MADISON, WISCONSIN I photographed this pair of wood ducks on a small pond near our home. I’ve provided two wood duck nest boxes that have been used for the past 11 years. I took the photo with my Canon EOS 70D. Edward Price ROCKLIN, CALIFORNIA BRILLIANT IN BLUE Wood ducks,…