The best plants to attract wildlife
International Dawn Chorus Day which took place in early May is celebrated from the Caribbean to Antarctica, but did you know it all began in Birmingham in 1984 when broadcaster and environmentalist Chris Paines had the unusual idea of inviting guests to a 4am birthday party so everyone could enjoy the dawn chorus together?
Here at Amberol, we’re not at all surprised that Birmingham, a city that is resplendent with our self- watering planters during Britain in Bloom every summer, should be the birthplace of this celebration of wildlife that takes place in early May each year.
If you feel inspired to fill the space around you with the sound of birdsong in the spring and early summer months when birds try to attract a mate, here are some of the plants that will attract our feathered friends all year round:.
Haven in the holly
As everyone who has ever received a Christmas card knows, the holly bush has a special affinity with the robin, but it’s not just red-breasted birds who call holly home. The dense, evergreen and prickly leaves of holly provide much-needed shelter just when the bush is at its prettiest – during the cold months. Not only that, the berries provide valuable sustenance to thrushes and blackbirds. As well as providing the perfect nesting site, holly’s nectar and pollen feed a great variety of insects, which in turn attract birds.
The green grass of home
Although creating a mini meadow on a grass area is the best way of attracting a wide variety of birds, even the most manicured of lawns will still be a magnet for birds like black birds and starlings as long as there are still worms lurking beneath the surface. And if your lawn contains an ant’s nest, don’t despair - this may attract green woodpeckers!
A honeysuckle hive
Honeysuckle looks gorgeous trailing from a trellis, and on well-established plants the tangles of stems and berries provide great nesting spaces for birds looking to set up home in the midst of a great source of autumn berries. And because aphids and insects feast on the nectar-rich flowers, birds will follow their prey. Bullfinches, thrushes and warblers are all particularly attracted to honeysuckle berries, while an even wider range of birds will find nourishment from climbing honeysuckles in the summer and the earlier-flowering shrub varieties in the spring.
Home in a self-watering hanging basket
Native container favourites like petunias, fuchsias and marigolds will attract the most diverse range of insects, and again, where the insects lead, the birds will follow. Many people think of planting containers and hanging baskets as a summer pursuit, but when the last of the summer colour dies, why not plant perennials to provide an all-year round wildlife sanctuary? Your window boxes will provide a much-needed hibernation spot for ladybirds and other insects. Just watch out if there are any spotted flycatchers around as these have been known to nest in hanging baskets!
The sanctuary of ivy
Ivy provides a year-round lifeline for wildlife. Its leaves provide roosting and nesting space for birds as well as food for caterpillars. In the autumn, insects munch on ivy flowers, which in turn attract wrens and robins. As the cold sets in, the black ivy berries may not be as pretty as other fruits, but they provide meals for a wide range of birds including blackbirds, thrushes, starlings and jays. Few people are lucky enough to live in an ivy-clad manor house, but this remarkably versatile plant is the perfect wild-life attracting perennial to add interest and texture to your hanging baskets self-watering, containers and window boxes all year round.
To find out more about Amberol’s wide range of innovative self-watering planters and containers, please contact us on 0773 830 930.