Attracting Wildlife into your Garden

By Lorraine Spooner

As the garden continues to wake up from its winter slumber, wildlife ventures out from hibernation, birds begin to build their nests and pollinating insects are seeking out those early nectar-rich spring flowers.  This is the time to consider planting native trees to increase the biodiversity within your plot and maintain a balanced eco-system to benefit all types of wildlife.

Sorbus aucuparia

Our native Rowan has lovely silvery-brown bark and the leaves mature to striking autumn tints of burnt orange.  The clusters of creamy white flowers in late spring provide nectar for pollinating insects, and the orange-red berries that follow in autumn, are a rich source of food for many garden bird visitors, such as the redstart and redwing.

Growing 20-40cm per year in an upright pyramidal form, it will eventually reach 15 metres.  Many beautiful cultivars have been bred producing a wide choice of berry colour, from pure creamy white Cashmiriana to deep pink ‘Pink Pagoda’.


Corylus avellana

The Hazel is one of our smallest native trees growing 40-60 cms per year and eventually attaining 12 metres, but it is a popular species for coppicing in woodland plantings, the resulting timber being used by gardeners for plant supports.  Coppicing creates open wildflower-rich habitats which support many species of butterflies.  The coppiced stems also provide shelter for ground nesting birds, such as the willow warbler and yellowhammer.  The hazel has long been associated with the ‘hazel’ dormouse, which uses the nuts to fatten up for hibernation.  Popular garden varieties include Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, the stems of which can be used for indoor seasonal decorations and flower arranging.