Plants that Encourage Wildlife

Preserving wildlife species is as important as preserving plant species since neither can exist without the other. Insects, birds and animals need the pollen and nectar from flowers and subsequent berries, fruit and nuts to survive throughout the year as well as the plants providing foliage for egg-laying insects and secure cover for birds nesting. Plants on the other hand need the contact with wildlife for pollination either by the spread of pollen or by seed dispersal.

Farmers have long been planting Native Hedgerow Mixes to encourage wildlife pollinators for their crops including such species as Quickthorn or Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Spindle, Elder and Dog Rose with their pretty flowers and berries and hips, the flowers on Blackthorn normally appearing in March or April to catch the early insect life. Most urban and rural gardeners are now more aware of the need to encourage bees, insects, butterflies, birds and animals and so are planting more wildlife friendly plants in and around the garden.

Roses have forever been a favourite for the fragrant blooms followed by the beautiful rosehips and plants such as Hazel for the tasty nuts favoured by squirrels as well as Oak trees for acorns. Lavenders of course are covered in the spring and summer with bees attracted by the heady perfume of the flower spikes, and evergreen plants such as Mock Orange and the thorny Pyracantha provide all year-round greenery with the addition of fragrant flowers on the former and stunning berries on the latter.

There are of course fruiting plants such as Wild Crabapple, Wild Pear and Plum Myrobalan which add diversity to the menu for birds and these incorporated into a Native Hedgerow would help provide cover when nesting. For individual shrubs Azaleas and Rhododendrons support large blooms for insects to easily access nectar and pollen along with Lilacs and not forgetting the Buddleia a favourite of butterflies.

Similarly, ornamental trees such as Flowering Cherries, Crabapples, Mountain Ash varieties and Ornamental Quickthorns have blossom in spring developing into fruit and berries in autumn thus useful to birds as well as insect life. Ground cover plants such as Periwinkles and Cotoneaster as well as the very pretty Geraniums will also provide a haven for wildlife such as beetles, woodlice and ants which prefer the darker corners of the garden. There are plants for all parts of the garden whether wild areas or formal that can be used to attract all varieties of wildlife and in doing so protects the environment for years to come.