Bring on the Birds
What will grow under my evergreen tree...and be able to attract birds and butterflies? —Juanita Humbert, Strasburg, Colorado
Your evergreen provides wonderful shelter for the birds. but it can also add a bit of challenge by casting shade and competing with neighboring plantings for water.
Add a few deciduous shrubs near your evergreens to help transition to some perennials if space allows. You may find expanding the garden away from the evergreen and into the sunlight allows you to grow a wider variety of plants.
A few shade-tolerant native shrubs to consider include elderberry, Saskatoon serviceberry, red-twig dogwood and waferash (Ptelea). Hostas are a favorite shade plant. Plus, the flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds, and the seeds are enjoyed by juncos.
Astilbe, coralbells, columbine and dalilies will also help bring birds and butterflies to the garden. And consider adding a few shade-tolerant annuals like begonia, fuchsia and impatiens.
As you plant sunnier areas, you have many more choices, including bee balm, black-eyed Susan, coneflower and phlox, to name just a few.