Monday, 18 February 2013


A while ago I penned an article about having a hedge for wildlife, in this article I plan to discuss how to look after it.

Cared for adequately, hedges are good food sources, and somewhere to shelter for a number creatures.

Don’t prune hedges to often as this can cause loss of fruiting capacity and shape. Pruning a third of the current season’s growth to within 3 inches of the previous season’s will certainly encourage bushiness.

Never cut all your hedges back yearly, leave some unpruned. Many hedges such as privet and hawthorn fruit on growth formed in the previous year. To cut the entire hedge back limits fruiting. Many people I have known have never seen a privet berry as they cut them within an inch of their life, often 3 times a year.
Try to stagger cutting your hedge, maybe one section in year 1, another in year 2 and another in year 3. Then return to the first section thereafter. You will build growth of differing ages and will have a better cycle of flowering and fruiting.

Prune after berries have been consumed by birds and never in the breeding season.

If you have some deadwood in the hedge, leave it, it’s a great micro habitat in itself, and try laying a hedge if it is gappy. Again staggering this work so you have different aged growth.

The world won’t come to an end if your hedges are not cut every week. Leaving a few unkempt sections as hedges will form green corridors interlinking a number of gardens.

Go on think outside of the box a little, and watch the wildlife come flooding in.

Happy Gardening!
Stuart Mabbutt, Wildlife Gardening Specialist
01865 747243

Guest blog via English Cottage Garden Nursery

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


February is a good time to plan what you want to do in your garden this year. Perfect winter evening past time is sitting by the fire browsing seed and plant catalogues and thinking wistfully of the summer days to come! Whilst doing all this marvellous planning, though, nature would really appreciate it if you bore in mind the impact your plantings and design will have on wildlife. This blog will provide you with a really useful list of UK wildflowers that will attract and help our native UK bees.

Our bees are declining in number so anything we can do to help their survival will help.

Bugle, Daisy, Harebell, Horseshoe Vetch, Birds Foot Trefoil, Cowslip, Selfheal,Creeping Buttercup, Salad Burnet, Dandelion, Wild Thyme, Red Clover, White Clover, Germander Speedwell, Ramsons, Columbine, Garlic Mustard, Black Horehound, White Bryony, Nettle-leaved Bellflower, Wild Clematis, Wild Basil, Wild Foxglove, Hedge Bedstraw, Sweet Woodruff, Lady's Bedstraw, Herb Robert, Wood Avens, Ivy, Bluebell, White Deadnettle, Yellow Archangel, Honeysuckle, Mallow, Wood Forget-me-not, Wild Primrose, Lesser Celandine, Sanicle, Red Campion, White Campion, Betony
(Bee on Cornflower)
Greater Stitchwort, Comfrey, Wood Sage, Common Vetch, Tufted Vetch, Corncockle, Corn Chamomile, Cornflower, Chicory (below), Teasel (Below):
Viper's Bugloss, Corn Marigold, Scented Mayweed, Field Forget-me-not, Poppy:
Coltsfoot, Great Mullein, Rosebay Willowherb, Pignut, Hound's Tongue:
Wild Carrot, Meadow Cranesbill, Field Scabious, Meadow Vetchling, Wild Parsnip, Devil's Bit Scabious, Tansy, Meadow Rue, Goat's Beard, Dark Mullein, Yarrow, Toadflax, Ox-eye Daisy, Greater Knapweed, Lesser Knapweed:
Musk Mallow, Restharrow, Wild Mignonette, Yellow Rattle:
Small Scabious, Bladder Campion, Agrimony, Kidney Vetch, Thrift, Clustered Bellflower, Hawkbit, Lady's Smock, Marsh Marigold, Yellow Loosestrife, Purple Loosestrife, Dropwort, Jacob's Ladder, Fleabane, Sea Kale, Rock Samphire, Yellow-horned Poppy, Biting Stonecrop, Yellow Iris.

Some Other Plants (not wild)

Flowering currant, Azalkea, Berberis, Broom, Phacelia, Weigela, open-faced Roses, flowering Hebes, Heathers, Escallonia, Skimmia, Potentilla, Cotoneaster, Pieris, Hellebore,Hibiscus, Delphinium, Sweet William, Globe Thistle, Red Valerian, Larkspur, Sunflower, Hyssop, Poached Egg Plant, Lavender, Bergamot, Mint, Sage, Rosemary, Buddleia

Blackthorn, Dogwood, Willows, Sweet Briar, Blackberry, Rowan, Wild Privet, Field Maple, Wayfaring Tree, Guelder Rose.

This isn't an exhaustive list and there are plenty of other non-wild plants that bees love. The Royal Horticultural Society have a very long and useful list you can download.

Buy bee plants and other wildflowers from the English Cottage Garden Nursery Ltd
Wild About Wildflowers
Plants for Bumblebees