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Jim Macd

Latest posts by Jim Macd

Native plants

Posted: 14/06/2015 at 10:51

I know.   Do you grow Raspberries, Red Currants or Rowan? The birds seem to love those just as much as Cherries. I've got Sorbus a. edulis I've yet to try the berries on those since the birds strip them the minute they turn slightly orange. Rowan is a great tree because it fruits from such an early age compared to other Rosacea.

Native plants

Posted: 14/06/2015 at 10:18

You don't have much luck with those Bird Cherries Nut.

A shady hedge, I'd go for Yew, it is fairly slow growing but worth it. I have used Yew for the same reason. I've also got some Hornbeam but it isn't doing as well as I'd hoped so I've taken loads of Yew cuttings to 'replace' it. I'll under plant, I took semi-ripe cuttings in Summer/Autumn last year. They're all showing signs of growth, I don't think any one died. Yew's not cheap so I'll do more this year if I don't get enough. Beech is okay but in a shady place it won't be a very dense hedge and you have to get Beech fairly small Beech because they don't transplant very well unless you nurse them like a baby if you have dry shade especially. But it is a lovely hedge. I bought 6 x 2 meter bare root Beech a couple of years ago for a section of the hedge that needed replacing. It is very shady and dry, I lost more than half. I was stupid and greedy because I knew the risks and thought I was watering enough to compensate but I still lost half and I think only one has done well. 

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 20:24

Jo that's great, I have Prunus avium and P. padus they are great. I've also got spinosa in the hedge, not had enough to make sloe gin yet though.   I packed as many natives as I could in the garden when I bought the house, I even planted a hedge along the fence outside my property, I'm going to plant a couple of trees on the verge at some point when they're big enough to cope with the drunken teenagers pub crawling.  The council seem quit happy for us to do what we like as long as they don't have to cut the grass.  If it weren't for the meadow I think I'd have made a wood by now.  Got to have a meadow that's always been my goal in this house so I have to keep myself true to that. 

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 19:53

WillDB I know it is about box ticking for the OP which is why I linked the list on my website did you only read one phrase I wrote?  and, Nut, the site wouldn't be the same without you.  

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 18:06

I was just noticing how the person that started the thread is no longer contributing, maybe they're still reading but I suspect they've gone, they haven't posted since the second day. 

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 18:01

Jo if you really wanted Wild Cherry you could get a dwarfing rootstock and graft on a wild cherry. It sounds daunting but it really isn't so difficult with a bit of practice and you've got little to lose. However the wildlife benefit of a cultivated cherry is probably about the same as long as it's not a sterile double. Everyone who's had a cherry tree knows how much the birds love cherries.  I've haven't tasted mine yet the birds don't give me a chance.  

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 17:55

On the subject of flowering lawn, Emorsgate seeds has an very good list of native grasses. If you are wanting to tick boxes you can't go far wrong with native grasses, they add a lot of benefit. Many moths feed specific grasses. Helps if the grasses are left a bit longer though. It's taken 5 years but my lawn near the house which my partner insists should be kept as 'lawn' not a 'meadow' is full of wild grasses that came in from the meadow and other than the bit under the bird feeder it's all very short, well relatively, the seed heads are about eight inches high but I think it looks fantastic and it hasn't been cut in about 5 weeks. That's down to keeping nutrients low though by removing all the cuttings. As I say under the bird feeder it's a very different story, more like an abandoned school rugby field.

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 17:41

It is a very difficult one. A lot really depends from what angle you're coming at. Personally being focused on Botany my emphasis is on the plants, I want to conserve the British Wild flora and I think if you focus on that then you won't got far wrong. Its very easy for an expert who's spent years studying to give a tiny fraction of their balanced knowledge in a few sound bites for it to then goes on the misinterpreted and used in totally the wrong way. My local Wildlife HQ is Rainton Meadows, now you'd think they'd have acres of meadows by the name, but they don't. Most of the area they have seems to be dedicated to birds so of course being a wooded island most of the area is taken up by woodland and ponds for water birds with very little managed meadow. It's a very big subject and there's lots of new data that goes against the grain of what I studied. I really do think though that if you want a wildlife friendly garden you've got to include as many natives as you can. It doesn't have to be a case of ticking off names on a list because there's a lot of native plants that don't support much wildlife and a lot of non-natives that do. But that comes down to knowledge again and wheather you are conserving insects for the sake of the insects or the birds that live on the insects. You can't really give rounded sound bites. You can't sum up years of research in a few lines of text that will be taken and absorbed in the right contecxt by total novices. To quote Buddhism don’t turn your teacher into a demon. Don’t get the wrong end of the stick and do harm.  It made me smile on a GW episode last year when they interviewed an entomologist who gave a really well balanced explanation of what was the current thinking. He said something like many species of insects are very specific on the native plants they need while others really don't mind where the plants come from, then Monty, summed it up saying 'It's interesting that until a few years ago it was generally thought that native plants were key to getting insects into your borders but research has shown recently that it doesn't make much difference…" I screamed. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Years of work by wildlife experts undone by a one line. Cart blanche to do what you like in the garden then. Oh boy!  


Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 12:03

The pfaf site should reed not very scientific, sorry. you're welcome nut.  

Native plants

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 12:00

I should add, just scanning through the suggestions, so many aren't native. Only one crab is native. But again check with the council what they keen by native. I have another list of pages that gives the benefit of certain native and non-natives to wildlife. Some surprises there. 

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