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Small trees/shrubs

We’ve recently had a new fence erected on the shady side of our garden, and will now be planting small trees/shrubs in the border, specifically to attract wildlife, particularly birds. I have got ideas, but your recommendations would be most welcome. Thank you. 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 30,480
    Anything with berries, so pyracantha, cotoneaster etc. Remember flowering plants for insects too.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,680
    Amelanchier is my tree of choice, it can also be grown as a large shrub. Blossom, berries and then autumn colour.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,445
    Can't go wrong with either of those suggestions.  :)
    Depending on just how much space you have, you could also have Buddleia, because they'll grow in quite a bit of shade, contrary to the usual info.
    I have Osmanthus burkwoodii in a shady spot. Not sure how useful it is to wildlife as such, but the birds have got good cover in it. Nice little scented, white flowers in late winter/spring. Potentillas have good flowers, over a long season, for insects of all kinds. 

    Have you got an understory of perennials etc too? 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Patsy FPatsy F KentPosts: 46
    Thank you, I really like AnniD’s suggestion of Amelanchier, as it has year round interest and looks quite beautiful. However, we have alkaline soil, so this would not be suitable. I had already decided on Cotoneaster, possibly Lacteus. I already have some smaller shrubs in that border, but would like taller varieties. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,908
    We have a lovely amelanchier and we garden on chalk which is very close to the surface ... in fact there’s a medieval chalk quarry only 200 yards from our front door. 
    I would go ahead with an amelanchier if that’s what you would like. 😊 

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

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 8,680
    Hello Patsy, l had a look online searching for any information about amelanchier and chalky soil, and came across this

    It depends how alkaline your soil is, but as Dove says, it may be worth giving it a try. They are beautiful  :)
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,908
    😆 our soil is light and gritty free draining loam over the chalk ... not a hint of clay ... and as I said, our multistemmed amelanchier lamarckii is very happy 😃 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,971
    We had a happy amelanchier on deep, fertile, alkaline loma in our last garden.  However, you coud also thing about malus Donald Wyman which is a small crab apple or one of the smaller or fastigiate sorbus such as and  ou could also look at the smaller hawthorns such as or, if those thorns worry you, 

    Hollies are good if you want some evergreen interest and shelter for birds and insects but do research varities to make sure yu get a female or self-fertile one for berries.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Patsy FPatsy F KentPosts: 46
    Thank you for all your recommendations. I will research them all. That is very encouraging about the Amelanchier, although we have clay soil, which is heavily mulched regularly. Our local nursery/garden centre is excellent, so I will ask their advice. We do have fruit trees, Buddlejas etc. on the sunny side and have always got lots of wildlife in the garden. I was conscious of the fact that very old trees & shrubs have been removed to accommodate the fence on the shady side, so want to replace them with those to attract birds. We are very fortunate to have woodland behind our garden, so no shortage of wildlife. This is the border, which I will be widening considerably. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 42,445
    Mahonia is also good, and Berberis - they're perfectly happy in shady areas, and if you get a deciduous berberis, you can underplant with early perennials, bulbs etc for wildlife.
    Birds eat the Mahonia berries here when they drop. 
    You'll certainly need a bit more size there to accomodate decent sized shrubs  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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