Category: Wildlife and Nature


Trees and shrubs are important for all forms of native wildlife, including birds, mammals and insects. They will add another dimension to your organic growing area – providing leaves and fruits as a rich larder; habitat for nesting; shade and shelter, plus height for safety. A mature oak tree will support over 280 different insects. See Beneficial Insects..

Where possible, the organic grower plants trees or hedges, along with flowers, shrubs and water, to provide a valuable and diverse ecosystem.

Many of our native creatures are also predators of garden pests. Did you know that a ground beetle eats slugs? And a family of blue tits can eat 100,000 aphids a year? Natural pest control is an essential aspect of organic gardening.

Trees don’t have to be huge. The following list provides ideas for trees for small and large gardens. Some can be grown as a hedge. Hedges supply housing for over 30 species of British birds. A mixed hedge will also provide a variety of nectar producing plants, supporting bees and other pollinators.

Key

N = native

O = non-native

D = deciduous

E = evergreen

Extreme conditions tolerated: W = wet, Dr = dry

Specific soil type: Cl = clay, C= chalk

Common alder, Alnus glutinosa. Full height 22m (70 ft), suitable for hedge.
Can provide a home and food to at least 90 insect species. Small woody cone-like fruit is important food for birds such as goldfinch, siskin and redpoll
N, D, W, Cl

Ash, Fraxinus excelsior. Eventual height 40m (130 ft)
Flowers provide nectar for insects, the seeds or ‘keys’ are food for birds and small mammals. Over 41 associated insect species.
N, D, C

Quaking Aspen, Populus tremula. Eventual height 20m (65ft)
Aspen colonises new ground and is quick to grow. The leaves move in a magical way, immortalized in the poem ‘Lady of Shallot’- ‘willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dusk and shiver’. Over 90 associated insect species.
N, D

Nuthatch feeding in tree

Beech, Fagus sylvaticus. Eventual height 36m (120 ft), suitable for hedge.
Richly coloured autumn leaves and beech nuts, or ‘masts’, provide food for many birds such as tits, chaffinches, nuthatches, as well as squirrels and mice throughout the winter. Over 64 associated insect species.
N, D, C

Wild Cherry,Prunus avium. Eventual height 9-12m (30-40 ft)
Bright red fruit are popular for birds and mammals in early summer. Scented white flowers are attractive to bees and flies in the spring.
N, D

Bird Cherry, Prunus padus. Eventual height 6-9m, (20-30ft)
Beautiful white to pale pink blossom fill the air with almond fragrance in the spring. Attractive to bees and flies. Bitter black/red fruit, are eaten by birds. Common along streams and watery areas in North of England and Scotland.
N, D, W

Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster frigidus. Eventual height 9m (30ft), suitable for hedge.
Sweet scented flowers are borne early summer, popular with many insects, followed by a mass of scarlet berries in the autumn. These are much loved by birds including the waxwing and pheasant. C.horizontalis is very popular with bees in the spring.
O, D

Crabapple, Malus sylvestris. Eventual height 9m (30ft)
Pretty pink or white flowers in the spring, followed by small bitter fruit in the autumn. Many mammals such as foxes and badgers, as well as birds, enjoy the fruit. Over 90 associated insect species.
N, D

Buckthorn, Rhamnus Eventual height 5m (16ft), suitable for hedge.
The small yellow flowers of the Purging Buckthorn in spring provide food for the brimstone butterfly, whose caterpillars also feed on the leaves. Black berries in the autumn are borne on the female plant and are enjoyed by birds and small mammals.
N, D,C

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna. Eventual height: 8m (26ft), suitable for hedge.
A small tree or shrub. Heavily scented white flowers in early spring are much loved by bees and other insects.The bright red berries, called ‘haws’ are a favourite food in winter for many birds including fieldfares and redwings. Leaves are food for the brimstone moth and oak eggar moth. As a hedge, it is a fast growing and sturdy plant, and can be ‘laid’. 149 associated insect species. The midland hawthorn, Crataegus oxycanthoides, is more tolerant of shade and heavy clay soil.
N, D

Hazel,Corylus avellana. Eventual height 6m (20ft ), suitable for hedge.
Classed as a tree or shrub, regular coppicing will keep the tree quite short. Nuts and leaves provide a great deal of food for birds and mammals, including the now rare dormouse.
N, D, W, C

Holly, Ilex aquifolium. Eventual height 20m (65ft), suitable for hedge. The small, pale green scented flowers attract butterflies, bees and other insects, in late spring/early summer. Long-lasting red berries are important winter food for many birds including the thrush and small mammals. Spiny, glossy leaves are eaten by caterpillars of the holly blue butterfly. It is important to have both a female and a male tree for the development of berries.
N, E

Hornbeam,Carpinus betulus. Eventual height 24m (80ft) , suitable for hedge.
Dead leaves remain overwinter when grown as a hedge, rather than leaving a bare framework. Seeds are important food source for squirrels and birds.
N, D

Small-leaved Lime,Tilia cordata. Eventual height 22m (70ft), suitable for hedge.
This can be grown as a hedge, with sweet smelling flowers that are highly attractive to bees early summer. Host to 31 insect species. Commonly found in limestone regions in England and Wales.
N, D

English Oak, Quercus robur. Eventual height 35m (115ft ) , suitable for hedge.
Can provide home for more than 284 species of associated insects. Although lofty at full height, this tree can be pollarded, or coppiced, and can also be ‘laid’ to make a hedge. Long lived.
N, D

Rowan,Sorbus aucuparia. Eventual height 12m (40 ft)
Sweet smelling flowers in the spring attract many insects. Orange berries in the autumn are an important food source for many birds and small mammals such as hedgehogs. Over 28 associated insect species. Can survive in exposed situations.
N, D, W

Silver birch, Betula pendula. Eventual height 15m (50 ft)
A beautiful tree, with silvery-white bark. Suitable for small gardens. Older trees play host to bracket fungi and birds such as woodpeckers. Supports 229 associated insect species. Seeds popular with over-wintering birds and small mammals.
N, D

White willow, Salix alba. Eventual height 18m (60 ft), suitable for hedge.
Flourishes beside water; useful in reducing soil erosion. Over 200 associated insect species.
N, D, W

Source: Garden Organic

Angel Oak, Johns Island SC- said to be 500 years old

Angel Oak, Johns Island SC- said to be 500 years old

Ingra Tor, Dartmoor...a favourite place

Ingra Tor, Dartmoor…a favourite place, visited recently

imagesOn Saturday a group of about a dozen volunteers set about transforming the space around my local church, St. Peter’s Church, Haveringland; from a wildlife friendly, but rather dishevelled churchyard into the first stage of creating a more ‘managed’ space.

The newly established ‘Friends of Haveringland Parish Church’ arranged the event following a visit from Norfolk Wildlife Trust who gave us some very helpful advice, and my own efforts at producing a Management Plan for the churchyard. The overall aims of this are to achieve a space which is a balance of:

  1. Accessibility to recent graves

  2. A place for reflection and calm

  3. Wildlife friendly

  4. Prevents deterioration of the church building and grounds

  5. Low maintenance

  6. Easy accessibility to the Church (and some surrounds to church?) for wheelchair users

The overall layout features:

  • Blocks of ‘meadow’ (major perennial weeds dug out, strimmed annually and raked off) surrounded by regularly close mown paths.

  • Areas of regularly close mown grass around recent graves and close to the Church; possibly including seating and ‘photo opportunity’ spaces.

  • Perimeter trees (firs) pruned from ground to above churchyard wall height, and an entrance avenue maintained to it’s established crown height.

  • Other major deciduous trees pruned to raise crowns; elders and hawthorns removed.

  • Regular removal of invasive ivy, grass and weeds on perimeter walls and next to church walls (drainage trench).

A few days before the event, this is what the place looked like.

Our first ‘Groundforce Day’ focused on strimming and mowing the rough grass and then raking the cuttings off to avoid fertilising the soil (so as to encourage wildflowers to thrive and spread), removing thistles, Ragwort and sapling trees from poor locations and trimming back trees along the front wall of the churchyard to open up the churchyard to the outside and to improve views out to the surrounding fields. One of our team also made a start on weeding the pebble drainage trench surrounding the church walls- a painstaking job. Here’s a layout plan that will guide our work.

st. peters planWe made good progress until ‘rain stopped play’ around 3pm, by which time the strimming was done, most of the cuttings had been raked away, some of the ‘weed thugs’ removed and the front row of trees trimmed to provide great views in and out of the churchyard. We also planted our sign showing we are members of the Churchyard Conservation Scheme run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Norwich Diocese…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

HUGE thanks to Deborah (refreshments), Gisela, Andre (and for the cakes too), Andrew, Brian, David, Fred, Les, Neil, Norman, and Richard (and Nancy for the delicious lemon drizzle cake).

…and also thanks to Peter Richardson and Dick Rowse for the loan of two special strimmers!

Here’s to Haveringland Groundforce Day #2 (date to be confirmed, but probably mid October- watch this website)! We will finish off the weeding round the church walls and tackle the ivy on the churchyard walls.

For now, the Church looks ready for the special Harvest Festival event this Sunday, 11th September when a vintage tractor run, the Aylsham Band, children’s activities, standing steam engines, refreshments (and toilet facilities), and an informal Harvest Service (hopefully outside) will be on offer- please come and visit us from 2.30-pm to 5pm (St. Peter’s is set in fields just off of the Haveringland Road, between Cawston and Felthorpe).

Old School Gardener

One hundred water voles will be reintroduced into the National Trust’s Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales this weekend, in what is believed to be the highest upland water vole reintroduction project (by altitude) ever carried out in Britain. This will be the first time the endangered mammals have been seen at Malham Tarn – England’s […]

via Endangered water voles return to Yorkshire’s Malham Tarn after fifty year absence — National Trust Press Office

My wife and I had Sunday lunch at a pub (‘The Trout and Tipple’) in Tavistock, Devon a couple of months ago. It was hot and sunny, so we decided to sit outside in a secluded courtyard…with its own magnificent Gunnera plant providing us with some welcome shade.I was amazed by the close up of the leaf structure, which resembles an aerial shot of an urban landscape…

WP_20160529_13_04_36_Pro WP_20160529_13_55_16_Pro

Old School Gardener

WP_20160515_15_01_07_ProOur second full day in Glasgow. Having taken the short train trip in from East Kilbride, we set off once more on the tourist bus and stopped off to see the Transport exhibits at the Riverside Museum..

From here we bussed and walked to the Botanical Gardens, where there were some very interesting, exotic displays in various glasshouses and plenty of very pleasant outside areas where people were soaking up the spring sunshine in their lunch breaks…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A short walk to the Kelvingrove Museum and Park where we explored some of the superb art and artefacts on display and then went onto see Mackintosh’s School of Art- which you probably know is undergoing significant rebuilding after the fire which severely damaged some of the best known areas, such as the library….

Sauchiehall Street called …. and we took advantage of the Willow Tea Rooms  (another Mackintosh gem) for a classic afternoon tea…

The day ended with a walk through the town centre, catching the bus once more (having had a quick look around City Hall) exploring the ‘People’s Park’ alongside the river followed by a look around a Mackintosh museum and a quick beer in the famous ‘Horse Shoe’ Bar…

Back to East Kilbride for an evening meal and then home the next day.We scraped the surface of Glasgow in two days, and shall certainly return for another look at this very lively, friendly and engaging place.

 

Further information: www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

Old School Gardener

WP_20160515_13_25_28_ProHaving completed our journey from Skye to East Kilbride, just south of Glasgow, we spent a wonderful couple of days exploring ‘the second city of empire’. We’d never been before…we were wondering what it would be like, given it had a rather ‘mixed’ reputation in former days.

We needn’t have worried. Yes, this is a working city and there are parts which aren’t that pretty. But the efforts to regenerate the centre and its surrounds seem to have paid off. We were impressed at the range and quality of the architecture and cultural offerings here…and the friendliness of the people.

Today’s post sets out some pictures from our first full day’s visit, when we took the tourist bus and initially stopped off to visit the Cathedral…

From here it was short walk to the Necropolis set out above the city, it is a wonderful space celebrating the lives of Glasgow’s worthies…and glorious on a sunny day with lovely cloud formations. We stopped off to chat to a group of RSPB volunteers busy stripping turf in order to create more wildlife (bird) friendly spaces amidst the tombstones….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And from here we discovered a super museum in one of the oldest merchant houses (‘Provand’s Lordship’) in the city and with its own, rather special tudor-style garden with knots of Box and interesting beds iof medicinal and other herbs…

Our second day featured a trip to the Botanical Gardens, Museums the Mackintosh-designed School of Art and afternoon tea at another  Rennie Mackintosh project….more of that in a couple of days..

Further information: www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

Old School Gardener

WP_20160512_21_47_51_ProOK, I’m sorry. It’s two months since we got back from Scotland and the roll out of my pictures and stories is painfully slow. Put it down to ‘getting back into the garden’, as those of you who read my letters to my friend Walter, will know.

So far I’ve shared my experiences of two clan seats on Skye- at Dunvegan and Armadale Castles- and in particular the splendid gardens. Today I thought I’d do a sort of composite post picking up the various other things and places we did/went to before moving back for a couple of days to Glasgow.

We were sharing a rather nice house with 6 friends in the north west of the island. The weather, and especially the sunsets (see the picture above) were amazing for early May…27 degrees C on one or two days. First, then some shots of our immediate area…

Second, some from some of the walks (and swims!) we did…Coral Beaches, Fairy Pools and a long trek across moorland towards Talisker Bay…

We also went on a boat trip where we managed to (just about) see some White Tailed and Golden Eagles as well as a good range of other sea birds….

Finally, and most spectacular of all, we went on a rather longer walk up and around the ‘Old Man of Storr’ up in the north east of the island- some breathtaking scenery here…

Well, hopefully you get the flavour of what was a fascinating and fun week- including a themed Scottish evening meal with us all wearing ‘See you Jimmy’ hats (and hair)!! no pictures to protect the innocent…

WP_20160507_14_03_12_Pro

Old School Gardener

toddler-gardening‘My father mistrusted gardeners- they dig up all one’s best plants, he avowed- and would not have one anywhere about the place, so always I was commandeered to do the weeding and clearing that bored him. ‘When I grow up I’ll never, never, never have a garden’, I resolved, as day after day I uprooted daisies from the tennis court or tidied the edges of the paths. And I meant it. But now that there is no force to command me but the needs of the garden itself, I am happy with it.’

Clare Leighton 1935

pbmGarden

Sense of place, purpose, rejuvenation and joy

SISSINGHURST GARDEN

Notes from the Gardeners...

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably

BloominBootiful

A girl and her garden :)

gwenniesworld

ABOUT MY GARDEN, MY TRAVELS AND ART

Salt of Portugal

all that is glorious about Portugal

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Cooking, gardening, fishing, living, laughing.

aristonorganic

"The Best of the Best"

PetalPushin

Thoughts from a professional Petal Pusher

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

An idea exchange for kids' education

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Wild Plants & Animals Advocate

Focused Moments

Photography by RACHAEL TALIBART

Lightning Droplets

Little flecks of inspiration and creativity

crabandfish garden

This WordPress.com site is our garden, cats, chickens and travel musings

breathofgreenair

mindfulness, relaxation, thought provoking images and poems

Vastrap Farm

My new life as a farm wife

C.B. Wentworth

Just following my muse . . .

~ Goat Track Photography ~

Ian G. Fraser, Brisbane, Australia

%d bloggers like this: