Wildlife friendly shrubs

Meadows are more than the grassland and become more diverse if you consider the whole site. A place to discuss other habitat management, from trees to hedges, ponds to scrub and much more.
jackieandrade
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Wildlife friendly shrubs

Post by jackieandrade »

I have an opportunity to re-plant a shrubbery in our community meadow. There is space for 15-20 shrubs, currently occupied by some rather dreary snowberry bushes. It faces south but is shaded by an old oak tree. As it is a public space, I'd like it to look good as well as serve wildlife. I would coppice to keep aspiring trees manageable. My wishlist is holly, hazel, hawthorn, spindle for natives, and some coloured dogwood and scented azalea for winter/spring colour.
Can this selection be improved?
Can you suggest sources of native and local shrubs please? Ideally I would like to buy grown shrubs rather than tiny saplings or seedlings as it is a public space.
Jane W
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Re: Wildlife friendly shrubs

Post by Jane W »

Hi Jackie, how about a Japanese Quince? I had one in a previous garden, and even though I'm no fan of shrubs, it was really lovely and the bumblebees LOVED the flowers ...nice and early in the season too when there's not much else around ( about March flowering I think). It was beautiful, the flowers an amazing waxy sculptural look and incredible pink/vermilion....and the (edible) quinces very attractive later in the season. There's many different types to choose from I think(Chaenomoles ....CxCalifornia or. C. cathayensis or C. Japonica or C. Speciosa or Cx superba)
Only thing is that its not native, so not sure if that's a part of the criteria.
Also, not strictly native I suppose... (but here for a very long time!)..what about Rosemary ...which can make a really large bush, and mine here seems to have flowers all winter virtually....life saving for early emerging insects. Lavender? Bay...which obviously makes an attractive bush/small tree and would make you popular with your neighbours.

Native shrubs, what about Juniper? Again ...nice edible berries.
Broom...interesting as you could make your own brushes...but the Broom we have here is a bit scraggy...think it benefits from being trimmed so it doesn't get too leggy.
I would also always be tempted by roses.... and I'm sure you would suddenly find your neighbours wandering around, enchanted by the smell or just memories of another time! I planted a rosehip that I'd collected I out of a hedge once. It grew into the most stunning dog rose which I trained around a hazel archway. It did nearly rip me to prices every time I tried to prune it though, but it was worth it.
Jane W
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Re: Wildlife friendly shrubs

Post by Jane W »

Forgot to mention, in case you don't know of him already, Martin Crawford at Dartington has written a great book 'Creating a forest garden', which may be useful if you can find a copy.
Because there's an entire 'shrub layer' in a forest garden he seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of shrubs and small trees. Only thing is...many are not native ...however...the sheer quantity of suggestions is interesting and you can go and visit his forest garden at Dartington I believe, and they do supply 'seeds and plants of common and rare species for forest gardens as well as information sheets and books'.
The organisation is The Agroforestry Research Trust.
There's a page with a list of shrubs...and small trees...all the plants you've already decided on, a couple more than jump out as possibly (not sure!) native: currants, (red,white, black) rowans/white beams/service trees/neflier,damsons/bullace, crab apple, cherry plum, dogwoods, alders, willows, gorse, June berries(?) ,barberries(?) Mulberries.
jackieandrade
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Re: Wildlife friendly shrubs

Post by jackieandrade »

Thanks for the suggestions for our new thicket. In the end I was a bit limited for choice as it was late in the season but I'm pleased with the 'fruit and nut' bundle from Glebe Farm hedging (minus Rosa rugosa which is non-native and too thuggish). I added some spindle and guelder rose. Details are here if you're interested: https://devonhedgerow.wordpress.com/2022/03/27/thicket/
Amy
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Re: Wildlife friendly shrubs

Post by Amy »

Jackie
Thanks so much for letting us know what you decided on in the end and for showing us how you did it.

As a general plea to everyone else - please please do update us on the end of the story - don't leave us hanging! We've become interested in your project too! Whatever the original query and however long ago. When reading questions here and on the email exchange, I often wonder about the enquirer's final decision and how does it all turn out?

Just on the wildlife shrubs point - the BBC Gardeners Question Time podcast Exbury Gardens https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0015l0s at the end of March 22, had 2 slightly similar questions to Jackie's - one answer stressed the point of planting for spring and autumn interest when there is heavy shade over the summer.
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