I'm delighted to welcome back Denise from www.wildaboutdevon.co.uk for her berry-based Resolutions for 2010:

I was walking along the side of a road recently when I was struck by the number of birds on a holly bush. It must have been getting on for thirty, mainly Redwings. Further on, when I had reached the woodland I had been heading for, I noticed that the holly and other berry bearing bushes had been stripped, which is why I guess the birds were now turning to the roadside.

It was only then that the importance of berries to the diets of some of our winter birds truly sunk in. So my New Year's Resolution is to plant some bushes that will produce a good stock of berries for next winter.

I’ve already started, with a couple of cotoneasters (left), which, incidentally, were de-berried within ten minutes last Sunday by a couple of Redwings, which were certainly a first for my garden.

The variegated holly bush I already have (right) is non-berry producing; I now understand from Adrian’s post that it might be male.It  forms part of a well-established hedge that was, up until last week, used daily by our resident hedgehog. So, I’ll have to find room for a new female bush somewhere else, something like Ilex aquifolium ‘J. C. van Tol’.

It also want to plant some Pyracantha. I will choose a red berried variety, such as ‘Mohave’ because it is said that birds are more attracted to red and bright pink berries than lighter colours such as yellow and white.

I recently saw a rowan tree covered in birds, including Chaffinches, Song Thrushes and Starlings, all feasting on its berries, but alas, I think I’ll have to leave that one until I live somewhere with a bigger garden, in which I’ll also plant hawthorn and blackthorn and viburnum and dogwood... the dream lives on.

Anonymous