There's nothing quite like being able to watch and admire wild birds flittering around in your own garden. From autumn onwards, providing food/shelter becomes even more important as food becomes rather scarce.
That being said, even a small garden can even provide a natural source of food for wildlife. Here's some of the best plants for attracting wildlife..
1. English Holly (Ilex Aquifolium)
Holly is one of the best plants for bringing wildlife into the garden, as it's prickly foliage acts as a security barrier, and the berries provide the perfect source of food.
Though the berries are often ripe and ready by autumn, birds will often wait to feed on them during winter, when there's very little food sources around. You will most often find Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Fieldfares, and Redwings making themselves at home amongst Holly bushes.
2. Hawthorn (Crataegus Monogyna)
Hawthorn is yet another delightful plant that produces plenty of fruit during the colder months. The shiny haws will often be seen all the way through to March! Blackbirds, fieldfare, starlings, greenfinches, redwings, are some of the most common species found enjoying Hawthorn berries.
That in mind, Hawthorn doesn't only attract plenty of birds, but the leaves are the foodplant for many species of moth and caterpillars, which then provides food for baby birds in spring.
3. Irish Ivy (Hedera Hibernica)
During autumn, Ivy produces lots of flowers that will attract plenty of insects, which will then provide food for the wrens and robins.
Berries will then appear in the middle of winter, which are thoroughly enjoyed by blackbirds, jays, starlings, thrushes, and waxwings.
The leaves will also produce food for caterpillars, and will be seen as a great, safe shelter for birds!
4. Rowan/Mountain Ash (Sorbus Aucuparia)
Rowan trees will produce berries from late Summer to mid-autumn (from July to November). It's a popular tree, loved by many gardeners, which will particularly attract blackbirds and starlings.
5. Franchet Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster Franchetii)
Franchet Cotoneaster is known for its lovely evergreen leaves that are accompanied with pink-white flowers in May, following with rich orange-red coloured berries during autumn. These attributes make the plant perfect for attracting birds, and their habitats, who love to feed on the delicious berries during winter.
6. Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus)
Viburnum opulus has flat clusters of white flowers during summer, which are followed with stunning red berries in autumn- something the birds thoroughly enjoy!
With that in mind, as good as the plant is for the wildlife, it's also perfect as an ornamental hedging species with it's beautiful, scented flowers and bright green foliage.
7. Dog Rose (Rosa Canina)
The Dog Rose species is an attractive species of hedging that boasts delicately fragranced pink/white flowers in the summer, which then give way to red, berry-looking rose hips in autumn (which are very welcomed by the birds). These berries are in fact edible by humans, too!
The prickly nature of this species also makes it an ideal shelter for wildlife, so you're more than likely to attract plenty of lovely birds to your garden with Dog Rose.
8. Crab Apple (Malus Sylvestris)
Crab Apple hedging will surely bring life, colour, and style to your garden, with its showers of fruits and flowers each year. The gorgeous, summery blossoms are highly popular with the bees, and the edible crab apples are attractive to many birds including blackbirds, crows, and thrushes.
In fact, Crab Apple trees support 90 different species of insects which, in turn, provide plenty of food for birds!
9. Blackthorn (Prunus Spinosa)
Due to its prickly nature, Blackthorn provides a wonderful shelter for the birds, and the sloes that are produces in autumn act as a wonderful source of food!
You'll love the look of Blackthorn, too, with it's abundance of delicate, white flowers during spring.
10. Wild Privet (Ligustrum Vulgare)
The creamy-white flowers on Wild Privet will appear during Spring, following with deep blue-black berries in autumn. It's very popular amongst the birds and butterflies!
Please note, however, that Wild Privet's leaves, flowers, and berries are poisonous to humans.
Now that's only some of the best hedging plants to attract wildlife! There's plenty of others, too- i.e., Elderflower, Wild Pear, Buckthorn Alder, Hazel, and Cherry Plum.
That being said, hedging is incredible important to wildlife. Especially during winter, birds are limited to where they can shelter, and the food they can eat, and hedging is seen as a source of safety for them.
If you plant a hedge using these species above (whether that's a mixed or single specie hedge), you will be sure to discover more and more birds visiting your garden! And of course, if you have a smaller garden, the plants can always be placed as a single specie in a pot which will still attract wildlife as it blooms and grows.