The magical Rowan
The mountain ash or rowan must be considered as one of the best trees for the wildlife garden providing prolific food sources at different times of the year for many birds and insects.
The native Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia, is easily recognised with its pinnate leaves turning scarlet in the autumn among the huge clusters of berries.
These autumn fruits are adored by blackbirds and other thrushes sometimes leading to trees being stripped before the winter begins.
There are many other varieties of rowan available at the garden centre or nursery. All will be good for insects and most will have berries that are readily accepted by birds. Some of the more decorative species for the garden include:
The Scarlet Mountain Ash, Sorbus commixta ‘Embley’, which fruits somewhat later than our native Mountain Ash can provide a continued food source for birds before the winter arrives.
Sargeant’s Mountain Ash, Sorbus sargentiana, has large decorative leaves turning scarlet in the autumn and also has huge bunches of small scarlet fruits that the birds enjoy.