Feeding tables and fat balls are popular ways of helping to attract birds to your garden in winter. Unfortunately, the easy food also holds a similar appeal to rats and other vermin. These plants will keep feathered visitors flocking to your garden in autumn and winter so that you can enjoy seeing them all year round.
Holly and ivy are a match made in Yuletide heaven, not only for providing beautiful evergreen colour to your garden but also for their berries on which birds love to feast. Holly’s spiky variegated foliage (pic below) also offers protection from predators. Make sure you plant ivy away from brickwork and keep it pruned as it has a habit of taking over if not given enough attention.
The small elder tree is native to Britain and produces deep purple berries (pic below-left) in late summer and autumn. Also part of the Sorbus family of native trees, the Rowan produces an autumn crop of bright red fruit that attracts blackbirds (pic 2nd below), thrushes and waxwings (main pic).
Vivid orange berries made the evergreen Pyracantha (bottom pic) easily identifiable, while its small, shrubby size is ideal for hedges. It is hardy and easy to grow, likes being in the sun or partially in the shade, and can handle both sandy and clay soils as long as they are not waterlogged. Pyracantha can be trained against a wall and, once it is a few years old and comfortably established, barely needs any attention.
Crab apples (pic above) can do well in pots and containers and so are perfect for a small garden or balcony, with the added benefit of a profusion of lovely blossoms in spring. A Partridge Berry (Gaultheria procumbens) is a dwarf shrub with bright red berries in winter and beautifully fragrant white flowers in summer. It prefers a shady, or partially shady position and can be grown in a container making it another option for small spaces.
With a mix of plants that crop at different times from October until spring, your garden will always be beautiful and busy.