Hi all I asked the below in a different part of the forum but perhaps here is a better place,

I'm in the process or re doing my garden to make it as wildlife friendly as I can and get the most out of the space I have.

Currently having a dilemma about what shrubs to put in. Contoneaster and Pyracantha are on the list but I wonder if anyone can help with the below?

Cotoneaster - 

What species is best? I don't have a huge space around 2 -2.5m square so will have to prune. i've read that some berries are not as favored as others and want to make sure I get the best thing I can.

C. Lacteus was what I was thinking.

Pyracantha - 

This seems like a good option but the thorns are a worry. Are they a danger to young children?

Again what species is best?

Any other suggestions welcome!

Many Thanks for any help!

  • I've just put this in your other thread Fulgrim but as you say this may be a better place

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Thanks Alan, still learning my way around!

    Its a food related question of sorts but the plant forum is probably a better spot.
  • Pyracantha are great, but only at a distance, no good near lawns , pathways or play areas as the thorns are lethal. If any go on the ground during pruning they will puncture a bicycle tyre easily. I trod on one piece of pruning the other day & it went straight up through my trainers (a bit worn). I would stick to 1 Cotoneatser, maybe an evergreen for winter warmth (viburnam?) & flowers/perennials for insects.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In addition to Noisette's comments, wild cherry or bird cherry are good small trees for gardens. Berberis have thorns, but are good for wildlife. Comfrey, Helenium, foxgloves, nasturtium are all easy to grow and good for bees. Grape hyacinth are good for early bees. Teasel and evening primrose are good for bees and goldfinches.
  • Thanks both :)

    looks like Pyracantha is out!

    I'll take a look into Berberis.

    Any thoughts on Viburnum or a specific Cotoneaster?
  • I don't know enough about viburnum to comment, other than I know some would be far better for wildlife than others. Plenty of varieties so research is req'd to see which you'd prefer, if any.

    Cotoneaster do spread and can be invasive if it gets out into the wild. A good choice for an urban garden though, IMO. Re varieties, I've got several here. Can't name them all, but all that are here are good for bees and berries that birds eat. I know not everyone agrees with this, but red berried varieties of many shrubs seem to be preferred at least to start with by blackbirds and others.
  • Thanks Robbo,

    i'll do further research on the Viburnum .

    I was looking at C. Lacteus as my option for contoneasters. I know they can be invasive and i'd prefer to go for something Native but there isnt room for anymore trees and things like hawthorn a too big and/or have thorns.

    i'll keep surfing the web for further info.
  • Pyracantha berries seem to be the favourite in my garden ( they usually get eaten by the blackbirds before the bad weather starts!) It does have vicious thorns, so may not be ideal if you have children.

    There are many varieties of Cotoneaster. I have the one you mention . C.Lacteus , it is a large shrub, the bees adore the summer flowers, but the birds don't eat the berries first (probably because they prefer my Pyracantha)
    I also have C. Queen of Carpets, as the name suggests it is a very low growing plant, I've seen a little field mouse steal fruit from it. Another good variety in my garden is C, Hybridus Pendulus, grown as a mini standard and very attractive year round. Hope you find these suggestions useful.
  • In the space you're working with (as referred to on another thread), I personally would go with something like this. (I hope Adrian won't mind me using his blog)

  • Hi all,

    Thank you so much for all your advice and for the link Robbo. I'll have a look through.

    I've got a bit of time to decide and need to do a bit of mulling and possible redesigning as I need to paint the fence before they go in. August bank holiday job! Its also a bit warm for putting new things in.

    Hope everyone and their garden visitors survived the heatwave!