One sure-fire way of making your garden attractive to many animals, especially at this time of year, is by including a variety of fruit bearing shrubs and trees.
Most people know that berries and fruit are an important source of food for birds in the autumn and winter, but they will also attract a large number of animals including small mammals and insects.
Rowan berries in August before the birds ate them!
I spent a rewarding 30 minutes or so at the weekend watching social wasps at close quarters as they consumed some rotting apples which I had left out in the garden for their delectation!
Female blackbird in my Pyracantha last winter.
The red berries of the rowan (Sorbus aucuparia
) in my garden are irresistible to the birds - especially blackbirds (Turdus merula
). Nearly all of the berries (a good crop this year) have already been stripped.
The berries of my Pyracantha
, on the other hand, have yet to ripen and hold the promise of a feast for the birds as the winter wears on. I have a couple of good berry-bearing Himalayan tree cotoneasters (Cotoneaster frigidus
) whose berries are just ripening now, but they do not seem to be so attractive to the birds until the later in the winter. Perhaps, like some fruit trees, they are more attractive to birds once the frosts have 'bletted' them. If you include a variety of fruit bearing trees and shrubs like these in your garden, the succession of ripening fruit crops will help to sustain animals throughout the entire winter.