As the days go by, I’m finding more and more berries ripening in the garden. Our birds , insects and animals come to rely on what is growing in our gardens. Those that will be hibernating have to stock up on food, eating as much as they can so that they will survive through the winter. I’m thinking of our little Dormouse that will sleep until April!
Birds come to eat the berries on offer, sometimes these are birds from way up in the north that have come south or west to milder conditions in Britain. Usually strong easterly winds bring Fieldfares and Redwings from the Continent and bushes can be stripped in just a couple of days.
The books all state that birds eat the red berries first, then orange, yellow and white. My Pyracantha bush by the front entrance with orange berries, is always stripped first before the one with red berries by the field.
Cotoneaster horizontalis by the kitchen, is growing up the wall and now isn’t horizontalis any more, more verticalis! The blackbirds love these berries.
One year we noticed that the Berberis by the front door, which was covered in red berries, was stripped by Fieldfares in just 2 days.
This honeysuckle is in the woodland and I like to think that the Dormouse might get a chance of eating these berries as long as the birds leave them alone.
These lovely long tassels tempt the blackbirds to jump up to get the berries, in the spring there are tiny white flowers where there are now berries.
Who eats all the fuchsia berries? I’ve never seen anything eating them, but they vanish. They are supposed to be edible for us humans, but I have never been tempted to make a pie out of them!
The bush of Rosa glauca is laden with rose hips at the moment, I like to think that they provide much needed nourishment for the wildlife in the garden.
Arum italicum marmoratum pops up all over the garden, thanks , I presume to the birds eating the berries and depositing the seed under the bushes where they sit.
We have plenty of blackberries in our boundary hedges, sometimes we pick a few for ourselves. Blackberry and apple crumble is so lovely and the cooking apples are just ready now too. We do leave plenty for the wildlife however, they don’t go short!
Sambucus Black Lace, beyond the pond, is covered with lovely black berries at the moment. The little mammals as well as the birds will enjoy these berries. We have quite a lot of voles in the garden and I’m sure they will scramble up and over the trees and shrubs to get at the berries. Having the voles in the garden means that we always have a Tawny Owl not far away!
We have quite a few Hawthorn trees or shrubs in the garden, thanks to the birds dropping the seed everywhere! It depends where they are, whether they are allowed to stay or not, but we always leave a few for the berries.
Damsons in the fruit and veggie garden have been picked and frozen. At least the nice, fat, juicy, plump ones have been, the small ones have been left for the wildlife to enjoy.
Lonicera pileata forms a short hedge under the kitchen window. The metallic purple berries are formed inside the hedge and you really have to go looking for them. The blackbirds have got the knack of finding them, but we haven’t seen other birds enjoying them.
Beech nuts form on my small tree in the front garden. It is a cross between the English oak and the American Copper Beech. The gravel underneath gets covered with the beech mast or nuts, possibly squirrels eat them or other small mammals, but whoever it is, they don’t last long.
I have never planted an Hypericum here, all the ones that pop up are courtesy of the birds dropping the seed. We keep pulling them out, but we always seem to have the same number!
There is a big bush of Taxus baccata in the back garden which is covered in berries at the moment. We are always finding yew seedlings all round the garden and I keep saying that I must dig them up and make a hedge out of them!
Not berries, I know, but my Acer is producing so many seeds at the moment, I think my dormouse and other small mammals might find that they make a tasty tit-bit.
We end up with Holly berries. Once again we have plenty of holly bushes in the hedges courtesy of the birds, some get pulled out while they are tiny, others are allowed to develop.
I hope you will agree that the larder has plenty to appeal to the birds and animals that choose to live in the garden, along side us. We have always tried to live in harmony with the wildlife around us and I feel the seal of approval was given when a dormouse chose to take up residence about 5 yrs ago. I don’t think it can be the same one with us now, but we feel honoured that its descendants have decided to stay with us.