Thursday, 31 May 2012

Horizontal Hold

Except I'm growing it vertically.

This is Cotoneaster horizontalis, planted by nature, not by me. She planted this one at the bottom of a rose arch, shortly after I had removed the old rose. These plants normally grow horizontally, hence the name, but if planted against a wall or arch, they will grow upwards. I first became aware of this plant's versatility several years ago, when I discovered it planted in the car park of a shopping centre. It was planted between the car parking bays, and was regularly clipped. This made the shrubs quite dense, much to the delight of several dunnocks who had made their home there.

My plant isn't dense enough for any nests yet, but in the autumn it is regularly visited by blackbirds who adore the berries. And at this time of year, it really is a bee magnet. Oh, and it attracts other pollinators too like this one:

Are you impressed ?  This is the first time I've ever had a holly blue stay still long enough to have its photo taken. Actually, I think it was drunk, it stayed there quite a while before it flew off. And others have been feeding in the garden too:

Look at the expression on the young blackbird's face. It's as if he's saying to his dad, 'what sort of food do you call this ?'  Never satisfied, these young uns.

By the way, it's recently been announced that putting up bird feeders acts as good pest control. Scientists have carried out experiments that show that gardens with bird feeders have better pest control than those without. Apparently, whilst the birds are waiting to use the feeders, they will eat the pests on your plants. It's a bit like putting sweets near the checkouts at the supermarkets. Except these 'sweets' are good for the birds. Mind you, I don't think putting broccoli spears near the supermarket checkout would have the same effect as sweets, do you ?


  1. That is good to know about the bird feeders. I've been debating on whether to feed the birds this summer since they have lots of wild plants to choose from nearby. I think they are eating my strawberries though. I'll see if filling the bird feeders will stop them from eating the strawberries.

    1. No that won't work, I've tried it. They eat the bird seed, then have the strawberries for dessert. The scientists forgot to mention that the birds can be pests too.

  2. Widocznie motylkowi kolczasty ostrokrzew się podoba, że tak długo siedział. Moje truskawki podjadają ślimaki, a nie ptaki. Pozdrawiam.
    Apparently the prickly holly motylkowi like that so long sitting. My strawberries they eat snails and not birds. Yours.

  3. Lovely to see the holly blue, they are so hard to photograph....well done.

    Sweet juvenile blackbird....don't you just love them at this stage :)

    I love cotoneaster....sadly it does not like my wet soil :(

    Lovely post, thoroughly enjoyed it.

  4. The cotoneaster is so pretty, I didn't know clipping would make them dense and upright. Mine has been overrun by the abelia.

  5. I do like a Cotoneaster, a very understated shrub. Ive always thought that they do their thing so well in urban & municipal planting schemes, especially when the berries appear in autumn. Lovely to see the Holly Blue, I too have had one visit the garden this year,except mine was on a Pyracantha.

  6. I love that idea of pests being near the birdfeeder checkout. It's true too xx

  7. I used to have a cotoneaster in the garden but it decided it liked the neighbours garden better and climbed over the fence and left me with just the bare stems. Great pic of the two blackbirds and the butterfly I have never seen one of those in my garden - you must be doing something right.

  8. Fantastic photographs, beautiful plant. I am greeting

  9. Hi Crystal, I tried to comment on this yesterday but had a nightmare with the Internet connection which eventually culminated in a last minute dash to the shop for a new router! I have Cotoneaster Horizontalis growing by the shed, it fills an awkward space and as you say the birds love the berries. Well done with the Holly Blue, I have them in my garden but have never managed a photo.

    I wonder how much money the scientists spent on working that little bit of wisdom out, I would have thought it was a pretty obvious conclusion to come to ;-)

    I love the Blackbird photo!