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Inspiration Required, small tree suggestions & wildlife encouragement

Hi, I currently have a small to medium size garden which is bare with just grass and a patio.  I wish to completely renovate the garden and turn it into an attractive oasis for our family as well as the wildlife.  

I would like to introduce 1 or 2  small trees that wont take over the garden, height isn't too much of a problem but I don't want too much spread.  I love trees that blossom, not fussed if it has fruit on it or not, but would like some year round interest so it doesn't look awful during the autumn/winter months.  Any thoughts?

Also, I wish to encourage butterflies, birds & bees to the garden.  I have a huge bird feeder which is very well used currently by all nature of birds but want to do more with planting for them and other wildlife.  Any ideas?  Throw them my way if so as the blank canvas albeit exciting is also quite daunting for a novice gardener!  image



  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,126

    Hi ReedyS

    You could try growing a fastigiate tree such as Prunus Amanogawa....its upright and has beautiful blossom in the spring, or you could try an upright crab apple which will give you the columnar shape, blossom, and fruits all winter. Fruit trees are grown on different rootstocks to suit different sized gardens so you will be able to find apple trees that will fit into the space nicely.

    Butterflies love buddleia. They can be very messy looking bushes but you can cut them back every few years and let them sprout from the base again. I find insects go mad for Nepeta Six Hills Giant and the leaves smell gorgeous.  There are so many shrubs that attract insects and you can have blooms throughout most of the year if you throw in some of the winter flowering types. Insects prefer single flowers rather than huge, blousy, double things so stick to simple shapes like calendula, nasturtium, foxgloves. Get a couple of seed catalogues sent to you then you can spend a few evenings poring over the goods on offer......they always have icons to point out which plants are good for insects so you can pick something you like and which will satisfy the local bees. This warmer weather has brought a host of insects to the Sarcococca growing near the front path.....its covered in very tiny perfumed (if you like that sort of thing) flowers.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,472

    Another vote here for crab apples - so many different ones but they all have gorgeous blossom for the insects and fruits for the birds, and are frequently visited in the winter by flocks of little Longtailed Tits looking for insects in the bark. 

    One of my favourites is Malus 'Golden Hornet'

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • MoviebabeMoviebabe Posts: 26

    We put in a weeping cherry two springs ago and we were careful to find a slow grower. It is covered in buds at the minute and it blooms for at least a month as each bloom replaces another. In summer it has pretty little leaves and the birds use it as a stop off point on the way to the feeder. It's just in bud now so pic wouldn't help you see it but there is a v similiar one here in the second story down.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,195

    Amelanchier lamarkii is a great shrub/small tree for wildlife and will grow in most soils and aspects. White spring blossom which bees love and then berries later. Nice autumn colour too, and a light canopy. It's technically a shrub but it's versatile -  you can grow it as a small tree by taking lower branches off, especially if you pick a suitable specimen.  image

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

  • ReedySReedyS Posts: 6

    These are all really wonderful suggestions.  Thank you so much everyone!  I particularly like the Prunus Amanogawa and I've always liked Buddleia so that's likely to feature in my garden.  Will look into all the other suggestions as will need a few different structural plants and trees!  image

  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,239

    A vote from me for crab apple but not for a fastigate cherry. It is quite an ugly shape to my eye. What about ameilichar and its berries which the thrushes love and it doesn't get too big. Rowan is also worth considering if you do not have heavy clay soil.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • ReedySReedyS Posts: 6

    I've just googled Ameilichar and nothing comes up sadly.  I've never heard of this. The crab apple looks like another good option for me, with blossom in very pretty colours.  Not so keen on the Rowan Tree.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,195

    It's Amelanchier Lamarkii Reedy - the one I mentioned. You'll find plenty of info on it. image

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

  • I'd add to the above the wildlife friendly flower Verbena bonariensis. The butterflies and bees like it, it fits in anywhere (even though it's big it's kinda see through) and if you leave it up all winter the goldfinches will visit every day to eat the seeds. I've only just cut mine down for the new seasons growth, and the goldfinches are staying around. Love their twittering. 

  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,239

    Sorry for bad spelling; here is a link:

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
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