every garden is large enough to accommodate
our larger native trees. But don’t be
discouraged; there are many small trees and
shrubs that are suitable for the smaller garden.
Like September’s dog
rose, there are numerous shrubs
that are easy to manage, make the perfect living
boundary and still provide a home for an amazing
array of animals and insects.
Photo: WTPL/Peter Paice from Belfast.
month, take a closer look with the Woodland
Trust at one of our widespread and popular deciduous
shrubs – Crataegus monogyna – better
known as hawthorn. This bushy shrub, or small
tree, can be found in woodland, particularly
along woodland edges, but perhaps is most often
associated with hedgerows where, if trimmed,
the shrubs can form a thick, stock-proof boundary.
distinctive toothed leaves appear in March and,
if left untrimmed, are soon followed by a mass
of white, scented blossom in May. A stunning
display which is only matched by autumn’s
show of fruit. Phenology recorders keep a look
out for October’s wonderful display of
ripe fruit! The fruit, known as haws, can vary
in colour from bright to dark red and are an
obvious favourite with our feathered friends.
Blackbirds and mistle thrushes are just some
of the birds that will thank you for choosing
to add hawthorn to your garden.
Photo above: WTPL/Margaret Barton.
Some believe hawthorn to have mystic or sacred
associations, and are reluctant to cut down
the species for fear of the bad luck that may
result. Often we find a single hawthorn remaining
in a field as a ‘fairy thorn.’ Superstitions
also persist about the hawthorn flowers, with
some believing it bad luck to bring the blossom
your view, you will be sure to adore the beautiful
May blossom, stunning autumn haws and, of course,
the variety of birds which will grace your garden.
Plant your hawthorn between November and March
and make a wonderful addition to your wildlife
Photo: WTPL/Peter Paice from
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