Woodland & Windbreaks In Your Garden

A woodland area can be one of the most attractive parts of a garden, with the graceful shape and colors. A woodland edge provides a rich natural habitat for wildlife and may attract hedgehogs, bats and a range of other creatures. you can re-create this sort of environment even on a small scale to bring a great diversity of creatures into a garden. A woodland area should consist of several layers of vegetation, including tall trees, smaller trees and a lower tier of shrubs. Under these can be planted ground cover plants and early bulbs.

In a small garden, where large trees such as English oak (Quercus ruber) and beech (Fagus sylvatica) would not be appropriate, plant hazel (Corylus avellana), hawthorn (Crataegus) or bird cherry (Prunus padus), all of which will support wildlife.


In a small town garden, use a mixed hedge as the top layer or substitute climbing plants including woodbine (Lonicera periclymenum) grown up a trellis. Small shrubs for the intermediate layer could include berberis and cotoneaster. Plants such as wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides) and wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), which enjoy damp, shady situations, are good plants to grow in woodland.

Every wildlife garden needs a pond as a home for all sorts of animal, bird and insect life and this should be in the most open area of the garden. It will make an excellent focal point. Boggy and marginal plants will make a natural-looking surround and offer cover for little creatures.

(photos by Tamara Jelaca)

Fences provide inexpensive instant windbreaks. They can be of woven willow or hazel, or wattle in medieval style. They are all good at gently filtering the wind. Since this is an organic garden you will want to dedicate an area to composting, hidden by shrubs or a hedge or fencing to match that used in the rest of the garden.

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Hedges provide food, shelter, nesting sites and a safe, sheltered corridor for travelling creatures. Choose a flowering hedge such as Rosa rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’, which is a pretty pale pink, or the pure white ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’. Alternatively, plump for clipped holly or a mixed hedge. Conifers do not mix well with other evergreen shrubs and do not make the best wildlife hedges on their own.

Rosa rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’

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