Gardening: Give Our Feathered Friends a Real Tweet

By Wild, Adrienne | Sunday Mirror (London, England), August 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Gardening: Give Our Feathered Friends a Real Tweet


Wild, Adrienne, Sunday Mirror (London, England)


WITH many garden birds desperate for a home, now's the time to invite them into yours.

Modern farming and gardening methods, particularly the overuse of chemicals, have stripped the land of many trees and hedges that provide birds with shelter and food.

As a result, their numbers are in decline.

A lot of organised conservation work is going on around the country to rectify the situation. But for it to be successful gardeners need to help.

By simply installing a few nest boxes, a bird bath and table with hanging nut feeders, you'll provide birds with a nutritious snack all year round.

But to keep them really happy, grow more of their favourite plants. Asters, clematis, poppies, sunflowers, teasels and lavatera will keep most seed-eaters busy for months.

Berberis, Amelanchier lamarckii, cornus, viburnums and sambucus are excellent shrubs with berries that will provide a feast for blackbirds.

The ideal border should be a mixture of plants that will also feed the insect-eaters such as blue tits. The plants should supply them with plenty of soft and twiggy nesting material and a place to take refuge from the neighbourhood cats.

Evergreen plants such as cotoneaster, ivy, elaeagnus, holly, mahonia and escallonia are great all-rounders.

They are usually bushy enough to make adequate cover for nests, and can provide delicious berries in the autumn and a year-round supply of insects.

THIS week's star letter comes from Paula Green of Southampton, who wins pounds 20 worth of National Garden Gift Tokens. She writes: "I have found some strange mini, cigar-shaped parcels with white grubs inside them in my garden. What are they?"

ADRIENNE SAYS: The parcels are home to the grubs of the leaf-cutter bee. The thimble-like cells are made from pieces of leaf which the adult females rob from plants and then pack with nectar and pollen before they lay an egg in each. …

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