Berries for Birds – trees and plants to grow in your garden

red rosehips against blue sky

This month’s blog was inspired by a walk in the sunshine a few days ago, and I saw some fantastic bright red hips against the blue sky and I thought the birds will love eating those. It made me think about what other berries are available, that would look good in our gardens and help feed the birds during the autumn and winter months.

Not all birds will eat all berries – it depends on the size of the bird compared to how big the berry is. Which makes sense, so how can we feed as many birds as possible? Obviously, we need to grow a wide variety of trees and shrubs. Here’s a few ideas…

Euonymus europaeus, commonly known as a Spindle tree, is stunning in the Autumn when the leaves turn bright red. Ideally plant it in a sunny spot, as it will look amazing in the sunshine. It has gorgeous, orange-pink, winged fruit which remain long after the leaves have fallen. Which makes it perfect for the birds too. This variety grows to around 3m tall and 2.5m wide.

Euonymus berries

Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’ is another red berried shrub that grows to around 2m tall and 2m wide. We have one in our garden and the birds demolish the berries very quickly.

The most obvious tree to grow is the crab apple – there are many varieties available such as Malus ‘Evereste’. This is a tree that has year-round appeal as the white blossom in spring is beautiful and are loved by bees and other pollinators. It’s followed by bright fruits loved by blackbirds, thrushes and crows. Mammals, such as mice, voles, foxes and badgers, also eat crab apple fruit. The trees are best grown in full sun, but will tolerate some shade. Prefers fertile well drained soil. This particular variety is pollution tolerant and is an ideal ornamental tree for a small, urban garden. If any apples are left you can make crab apple jelly which goes well with meat.

Malus evereste

 

Malus evereste crab apples

One of my favourite shrubs to grow is the Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘profusion’ which has beautiful purple berries in the autumn. It can grow in any well-drained soil in full sun or dappled shade. Grows to around 3m tall and 2.5m wide. I include it with the Clay version of Border in a Box – click here for more information Clay Border in a Box

robin callicarpa purple berries

calicarpa purple berries

 

If your plot doesn’t allow for trees, maybe a climbing honeysuckle and Ivy would be better. They can trail over gazebos and posts or grow against a sunny wall.

Lonicera fragrantissima is a delightful winter-flowering shrub with fragrant, creamy-white flowers on almost leafless branches from November to February. These are followed by dull-red berries. The flowers are a magnet for winter-active bumblebees. Best to plant this variety in moist but well drained soil in full sun – especially by a path or doorway, so you can appreciate the fragrance from the flowers as you walk past.

honeysuckle berries

 

Create a wildlife garden for butterflies, bees and birds

 

No matter what size of garden you have whether it’s just a balcony, a pot by the front door or an estate, we need to take care of our wildlife because without them, our plants won’t get pollinated which ultimately means our food source will diminish.

Butterflies –

these are among our prettiest garden visitors, but they’re dwindling in numbers: according to a Butterfly Conservation report published in 2015, The State of Britain’s Butterflies, three-quarters of UK butterflies have shown a 10-year decrease in their population levels.

A top plant to grow for butterflies is Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ which is a bushy evergreen perennial with vibrant purple flowers, that blooms all summer long if you dead-head it. It grows to around 75cm tall and likes a sunny spot with well-drained soil. And can be grown in a container too. Other plants they love are Buddleja, Valerian and Scabious.

 

Bees –

Although there are plenty of ready-made bug and bee hotels available to buy, you can make your own easily out of hollow sticks. Make sure the holes vary in diameter between 2mm and 10mm, to attract the widest range of species. There are plenty of videos online showing you how to make more elaborate ones, such as this one by the Birmingham City Council at Gardeners World Live at the NEC June 2017, or just simply tie your sticks together with garden twine and hang in a protected corner of your garden. You could also grow roses, wisteria and beech which the Leafcutter bees use to seal their cells.

Birds –

feeding birds used to be a winter activity, but they need our help in the summer months too, to ensure they have enough energy to survive leaner times ahead, such as dry weather when earthworms burrow deeper and wet weather makes foraging difficult. Don’t use fat balls during the summer as they can go rancid very quickly. Don’t use nuts and seeds that are intended for human consumption as they usually contain salt. Birds love sunflower seeds, so why don’t you grow your own? They’re so simple and create a stunning display. Birds also like fruit, so don’t bin old apples, put them on the ground for ground-feeding birds, or suspend from a tree for others. Always make sure there is a hedge or shrub near the feeding station so the birds can fly into it for safety.

One last tip – remember to put out a saucer of water, especially in hot or dry weather for the wildlife to drink and bathe in. You can add pebbles to make it easier for the bees, and leave it on the ground for the hedghogs to drink too.

 

 

Join my Garden Lovers Club for FREE to receive exclusive hints & tips

Nikki HollierFounder of Border in a Box
Join Now
Nikki Hollier Border in a Box

Awards

Border in a Box awards

AS SEEN IN

as seen in magazines

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google