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Wildlife hedge

First Post so Hello 🙂.... I'm replanting my garden hedge after cutting down a wild privet, which was devoid of wildlife! I have a few pyracantha here but was wondering what would be the better. A pyracantha hedge or Hawthorn for nesting birds etc, probably over thinking it, as they're both good. Thanks in advance



  • tessagardenbarmytessagardenbarmy York,North YorkshirePosts: 346
    How about a mixed hedge using geulder rose, blackthorn, Hazel, hawthorn  etc. If single species hedge both hawthorn and pyracantha provide lovely  berries.
  • Thank you for the reply. I've got a mixed at the bottom of the garden, this is for the middle so I'd like something that looks abit nicer, whilst providing food and shelter for birds 🙂
  • yorkshireroseyorkshirerose North YorkshirePosts: 574
    Rosa canina, the dog rose, is beautiful in a hedge for wildlife. It provides nectar for the bees and butterflies when in flower and hips for the birds towards the end of the year. It also offers protection from predators for the little birds.
    If you have room for a tree I'd recommend the native Acer campestre - field maple, lovely foliage which turns bright yellow in Autumn.
    A gardener's work is never at an end  - (John Evelyn 1620-1706)
  • I've got dog rose at the bottom of my garden, but no Acer campestre. I've probably got enough trees tho, it's like a wood down the bottom lol. As I said I've just pulled out a 7 ft privet hedge, just need to replace it with something that looks better and gets birds nesting, thank you for the reply 🙂
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,195
    I think if you've already got a wildlife hedge, the birds will simply choose to nest there. Having another similar hedge is probably excess, so you'd be better having something more ornamental, which also provides food and shelter.
    Pyracantha is certainly great - the flowers and berries are brilliant for wildlife, and it provides a good backdrop for other planting etc, however it depends on your view about the thorns. Holly would also be great. Both evergreen.
    If you simply want something which looks nice in different seasons, hornbeam and beech are ideal, and easy to maintain.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The back hedge is only about 4ft and not filled out, so nothing happening in there yet.. Ive had black birds and a Robin nesting against the walls behind ivy and climbing hydrangea. Blue tits in boxes, I think wrens somewhere, but the original privet hedge was always empty!.. I don't mind thorns as the pyracantha is there now, formed the entrance to old leaning more towards a pyracantha arch with a horthorn hedge.... Thx 
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807
    edited October 2018
    If it's in the middle, then I'd possibly shy away from thorns.  Hazels and Guelder rose feel like they take up space,  too much for me anyway.  When the leaves drop, I crave evergreens.  I'm amazed how bare the garden becomes after the fall.  So if you feel at all looked upon, perhaps a camelia, a viburnum, or something else, you can always add a rose later.  If the hedge is more structured and timbered, then I'd consider Firethorn.  But I've done myself too many injuries on mine, so am looking forward to its cremation come November.  Someone else told me, though this could be a gardener's legend, that their friend got spiked in the eyeball with a Pyracantha after some spring back.  Yuck.  Keep to the way out borders!
  • I've had my fair share of run in's with thorns 😪 had one removed from my foot as a kid, had my foot cut open. Where the hedge is placed it serves as a divide, but also I can view from my kitchen, so I watch the black birds eat the pyracantha berries. I've recently planted leylandii on my border, there's yew there too, I've got Hawthorn, dog rose, cherry plum, Hazel, elderberry, crab apple,sloe, Holly and guilder rose at the back plus a mountain ash and fruit trees....i do like the evergreen in the winter of pyracantha, but was just unsure if birds would prefer hawthorn 🙂.. Thx 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,195
    There are also things like Osmanthus or Lonicera nitida, which would provide a screening hedge and are both evergreen. Birds use them here for hiding in near my feeders, and other wildlife enjoys the shelter they provide for feeding and rooting around. Osmanthus has flowers too, and lonicera has berries.
    It really depends on how much time you want to spend clipping and trimming anything.

    You could also have simple trellis screens and plant climbers on them for a decorative divide. Those would provide all sorts of benefits for wildlife, and if deciduous, you'd see beyond them to the other parts of the garden in winter. They'd be good for hanging bird feeders on as well, which brings the birds nearer your house so that you can watch them.
    I still can't see the point of another similar hedge when you have one which birds use and enjoy, but perhaps I'm mssing something !
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • I actually saw Osman yesterday,strong smell, took cuttings 👌.... Im just thinking I've got most species that wild life like, so a single hedge of something that gives you flowers for bee's, berries for birds and a nesting site would be another bonus, plus its visible from where I sit in the house. 
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