These are the remnants of last years Telekia speciosa, a grand yellow daisy. I wish I could be noble and say that we had specifically left these in place for the birds, but it is not true. It is a happy coincidence that it will take us until the spring to finish cutting back the herbaceous members of the garden which leaves plenty of fine food for the birdies. If we waited until after the winter for the big chop we would never get it all done. Of course we do also collect seed for ourselves, not to snack on but to share and sow. Well that’s not technically true, I did eat some of the sunflower seeds but quickly became bored taking each husk off, gave up and put them on the bird table. Perhaps this is one of those foods that takes up more calories preparing than eating, or maybe there is a cunning trick that birds and clever people know.
The one exception, the one area that has a stay of execution until it is certain all the seed is exhausted, is the teasel plantation. These are left for the goldfinches’ delectation. As this prickly forest is situated just outside the potting shed it is rather a selfish decision; there can’t be a much better treat than watching those little glowing gems clutching at the stems, feasting on the seed they are perfectly adapted to feast on.