Fences and Walls
Vertical structures are amazing for a wide range of wildlife and birds
Worker wasps can be seen extracting nesting materials from walls, and butterflies can be found basking on sunny wooden fences. Walls can be rich in moss and lichen with nooks and crannies for bugs, lizards, frogs, voles and mice. Grow a few helpful plants and all manner of creatures will call it home.
Walls offer sunny and shady sides. Sunny sides like nectar-rich alpine plants and offer warm spots for creatures to bask in. Shady sides harbour places for woodlice and spiders to live, as well as nooks for ferns to grow in.
Fences need foliage and the height offered will attract diverse wildlife. Ivy is great year-round and fast growing cover. It will give lots of insects, small mammals and birds places to live. Thick foliage give nests excellent cover from predators like magpies, and the lack of strong branches mean cats and badgers will struggle to reach birds' nests.
Clematis can offer seasonal cover and interest with different varieties in leaf and in flower at different times of the year. Jasmine has great structure and scent – many insects love it. Honeysuckle is also a must for insect life; it is a rich source of food and protection for many bugs.
More structure can be offered with Hydrangea. Slower growing but a wide range of climbing varieties; all of which present numerous nesting opportunities for a range of small birds.
If you have a nice sunny wall, you could grow peas and beans. Usually annual plants, but very fast growing with beautiful flowers and seed pods, both for you to eat and for birds to enjoy. This would be a good spot for a bee or ladybird house. You’ll appreciate this when the bees pollinate your beans for a bumper crop and the ladybirds eat all the aphids to leave some beans for you to enjoy!
Consider erecting some bird boxes for your foliage to grow around. Additional nesting sites with the extra protection of their solid construction will make a welcome home for many birds. The cover of the plants will offer protection from the elements, as well as security from predators.
Add splashes of colour in the summer with fun plants like sunflowers. Why not have a sunflower competition? See how high yours can grow from a tiny seed! It may need the support of your wall or fence if it gets tall enough! The seed heads at the end of the season are a favourite of finches, so make sure to leave them out once the plant has died off.