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Help and Advice - Plants and Fauna

Plants that produce seeds and berries which provide food for wild birds.

 
These are some of the plants that you could cultivate naturally and help keep birds and wildlife in your garden. A small area of garden left to nature encourages large numbers of birds and wildlife. A lot of space is not needed, and to enhance a small area even more, scatter some wild flower seeds all around the area. It can be a wonderfulspot for people to enjoy too.
 

Teasel

Attractive to Goldfinches, the Teasel has large seed heads. They are easily identified with their prickly stems, leaves and spiny head, with beautiful purple/pink flowers. Flowering is mid to late spring and the plants are bi-annual. When they are established in the garden, they will self set easily.

 

Honesty

This plant attracts Finches,including the coulourful Bullfinch. They self set easily and are known for their unique seed heads which are oval and semi-transparent with a lovely silver sheen.

 

Dandelion

This plant can be grown as a  cultivated salad. Best known for its yellow flower; which turn into round balls of silver tufted fruits that, if not eaten by birds, blow away on the wind.

 

Lavenders

These plants are very fragrant and attract a wide variety of birds, wildlife and produce seed for the birds. Recently, scientists have determined that Blue Tits use Lavender to line their nests to kill bacteria. It generates a sterile enviroment for the chicks which, in turn, have an improved chance of survival. Oil is extracted from the flowers for fragrance and medicinal purposes.

 

Honeysuckle

Pruned well, Honeysuckle will thicken to become a dense climber. Superb for birds to roost at night and an ideal nest site. The flowers attracts Butterflies, Bees and Moths including the amazing Hummingbird Hawk Moth. Thrushes, Warblers and Bullfinches enjoy eating the juicy berries. There are 180 species of Honeysuckle. This is a good all round plant.

 

Evening Primrose

Also Known as 'Evening Star' This plant was introduced in the 1600s and has established itself in sand dunes, dry waste ground, roadside verges and railway cuttings. The flower which is yellow, only opens in the evening. They attract Moths, Butterflies and Bees. An excellent choice for a wildlife garden.

 

Greater Plantain

Commonly named 'Rats Tails', it grows really well in compacted soils, and grows profusely beside roadsides, paths and other areas with soil compaction.It is also found in grasslands and as a weed in crops. The seeds are on long, narrow spikes which grow well above the leaves. 

 

Fat Hen

A universal weed, growing by roadside verges and in hedgerows. The seeds are eaten by Yellowhammers, Greenfinches and Linnets. Fat Hen is a resourceful plant, its young leaves and shoots can be eaten as a vegetable, simlar to spinach. The people in ancient China made walking sticks with the stalks.

 

Golden Rod

Producing seeds for Siskins, Goldfinches and the declining Linnets. This plant thrives on poor soil and weas cultivated in the Middle East which used it for medicenal purposes. In the 15th and 16th Centuries it was used in Europe to heal wounds. It is supposed to have diuretic, antiseptic, astingent and other properties.

 

Groundsel

An annual weed, popping up on waste ground, hedgerows and roadside verges. The yellow flowers eventually turn white with fluffy seed heads. Senecio is the Latin name meaning  'Old Man'. Pull the fluffy seeds from the flower heads and they leave a bare dotted 'scalp'. A truly worldwide weed dating back to the first Century. The seeds are eaten by Sparrows and Finches.

 

Cornflower

A beautiful flower with lots of colour, then followed by seeds for the Finches, Tits and Sparrows to eat. In the past it grew as a weed in fields of crops. Now, it is endagered in it's natural habitat by over-use of chemicals and herbicides. In the UK the cornflower has declined from 264 sites to 3 sites in the last 50 years.

 

Thistles

In the bird food market, Nyjer (Niger) is often sold or referred to as a thistle seed. This is a misconception due to early marketing of the seed as 'thistle' to take advantage of the Finches' fondness for thistle. Real Nyjer seed comes primarily from Ethopia and is found in a plant called Ramtil. All Finches enjoy this seed.


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