Don't cut back all of the flower heads!

As you tidy up your annuals and perennials this fall, consider leaving some of the flower head for the birds that visit your garden this winter.

Seeds are highly nutritious and just what birds need during the colder months of the year. Even though I'd love to have a pristine garden by the time the ground freezes each fall, I'm careful to leave the seed heads of black-eye Susans (Rudbeckia), purple coneflower (Echinacea) and globe thistle (Echinops) in place for them to eat.

In addition to providing them with much-needed winter food, I have to admit I enjoy watching them gently land on the flower stalks and seeing the seed heads bobbing back and forth as they try to snag some seeds! (Hey, it's cheap entertainment, right?)

If you are concerned about having a ton of volunteer seedlings come up from any seeds that spill onto the ground, I have to say that I haven't had problems with that. I also like how the seed heads add interest to the winter garden.

So be sure to remember the birds as you straighten up your garden for the next growing season!