Shrubs are plants that produce several woody stems above the ground at the centre of the plant and often grow to become medium / large quite structured shapes of up to 3 metres tall. Unlike annuals and perennials in the border that virtually disappear in winter, they provide size and structure in a garden even through the winter months with their woody skeletal shapes or evergreen leaves.

   Blue-tit sitting in Hawthorn. Oliver Smart (rspb-images.com)

They can be particularly beneficial to wildlife in providing an abundance of nectar  for pollinators, berries for birds and lots of leaves for caterpillars and tiny insects  that birds can feed on. Densely packed shrubs can also provide shelter and nesting sites for garden birds whilst giving your garden some structural shapes.

   Blackboard tip at the Flatford Wildlife Garden: Shirley Sampson.

Autumn is a really good time of year to move and plant shrubs as the soil is still relatively “warm” from the summer and usually soft and moist from recent rain fall. Established shrubs are losing or have lost their leaves so it can be a good time for some light pruning for good shape before you move it.

Bare root and twiggy shrubs have virtually no top growth so these, as well as pruned shrubs are light above the ground, will not catch the wind so much and can therefor concentrate their energy in autumn on establishing the roots for a stronger plant next year. 

Berberis, Bramble, Cornelia cherry, Dogwood, Guelder rose, Hawthorn and Spindleberry all featured here, are all great choices to benefit wildlife in the garden as are some evergreen species such as: VibernumFirethorn, Holly and Ivy.

  Blackboard tip at the Flatford Wildlife Garden: Shirley Sampson

If you'd like to come and see how our shrubs are looking at this time of year, the garden is still open for the rest of this month with many species of wildlife plants and shrubs in flower and "berry"!  We're thrilled to be able to share the garden with you at this beautiful time of year.


The Flatford Wildlife Garden is now open daily from 10.30am- 4pm, 1st October until1st November 2020. Entrance to the garden is free, it’s push-chair friendly and dogs on leads are welcome. Parking is £5 in the National Trust Car Park next door.

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