SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

January 3, 2014

North Shore Gardener: Ice melters don’t have to be hard on plant beds

(Continued)

What am I going to do with the bittersweet on the table for decoration at Thanksgiving? Or with that wreath of bittersweet hanging on the door?

A: As beautiful as it is, bittersweet is an invasive species and must be treated carefully so you aren’t guilty of spreading the seeds around the neighborhood. When you are through with bittersweet, don’t throw it on the compost heap, where it will live and thrive forever — or could be eaten by the birds and carried far and wide. The best way to rid yourself of bittersweet is to burn the branches, or place them carefully in a dark-colored trash bag and leave in the sun until next summer. The dark bag will absorb the heat and kill the seeds. Heat kills the seeds — freezing weather won’t!

Should I be feeding birds all winter?

A: It’s the perfect time of year to open a new restaurant on the North Shore — a birdie restaurant, of course.

Please, feed the birds this winter, even if you’ve never done it before.

Why? Start feeding them now and the birds will be there for you to enjoy — and they’ll eat bugs in your garden all summer.

What kind of a birdie restaurant do you want?

Go to any hardware store or most garden centers. You’ll find a terrific array of feeders ranging from the simple to the sublime — and all the seed you’ll ever need.

There are feeders you can hang and feeders that attach to the window with a suction cup. There are sill feeders and flat, ground feeders that look like large trays. There are fancy, Victorian feeders and simple wooden Colonial feeders. Which is best? You decide — whatever you like. The birds don’t know the difference between Victorian and Colonial styles.

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Lifestyle
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