Hedges are rich in flowers, berries and insects that feed wildlife. They provide homes to birds, butterflies and moths, bats and dormice. Hedges also provide refuge - from the weather and from predators. The twiggy network is ideal for nesting birds, whilst the hedge-base is a particularly popular over-wintering spot for everything from adders to hedgehogs and ladybirds. Hedges have been recorded as home for over 600 plant species, 1,500 insects, 65 birds and 21 mammals!
Even if you do not have room for a hedge, just including one or more of these plants in your garden will help your local wildlife.
SUITABLE PLANTS FOR HEDGES AND THEIR BENEFITS
BEECH - (Fagus sylvatica). Beech supports 64 species of insect, which support many birds. Wood mice and squirrels prize the beech nuts and so to do birds including Jays, Siskin’s, Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
BLACKTHORN - (Prunus spinosa). The blue-black fruits known as ‘sloes’ are eaten by woodpigeons, waxwings and thrushes. Many birds also find protection for their nests among its thorny branches.
CRAB APPLE - (Malus sylvestris). Birds, including green woodpeckers, thrushes and crows eat the fruit. Squirrels also enjoy them.
FIELD MAPLE - (Acer campestre). May blossom attractive to insects.
GUELDER ROSE - (Viburnum opulus) The berries are eaten by jays, thrushes, bullfinches and other birds. Foliage hosts aphids and other insects eaten by birds.
HAWTHORN - (Crataegus monogyna). Birds, including the declining house sparrow nest in hawthorn. The fruits (haws) are eaten by waxwings, finches, blue its and other birds. The young leaves are eaten by moorhens and woodpigeons.
HAZEL - COMMON - (Corylus avellana). Spring catkins release clouds of pollen for the benefit of foraging bees and insects. The nuts are a favourite food of squirrels and mice. Pigeons, jays and pheasants also eat them.
HORNBEAM - (Carpinus betulus). The nutlets are eaten by birds including mallards, tits, great spotted woodpeckers, rooks, nuthatches and finches.
PRIVET - (Ligustrum ovalifolium). The dense foliage provides good nesting cover for birds. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and bees and the shiny black berries are eaten by birds.
SEA BUCKTHORN - (Hippophae rhamnoides). Attractive berries and foliage.
YEW - (Taxus baccata). Fruits are eaten by robins, moorhens, thrushes, blackcaps, nuthatches and many others.
BURNET ROSE - (Rosa pimpinellifolia) Flowers visited by bees in spring. Maroon-black round hips follow which are eaten by the birds.
DOG ROSE - (Rosa canina) The hips are eaten by thrushes, woodpigeons, waxwings, tits and other birds. Bees are attracted to the flowers in spring.
HEDGEHOG ROSE - (Rosa rugosa) Beautiful large scented flowers loved by bees followed by large red hips gorged by the birds.
ROSA GLAUCA - Attractive foliage. Small pink flowers followed by attractive red hips.
SWEET BRIAR - (Rosa eglanteria) After rain, the leaves have a perfume, just like fresh apples. The pink flowers are attractive to bees and the red hips to birds.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information given both on our lists and labels. However, some details may vary according to special or geographical circumstances. Varieties offered are subject to availability.