The Wildlife Hedge: DON’T FORGET THE UNDERGROWTH

Throughout these recent posts, we’ve mentioned on several occasions the importance of keeping the ground beneath a hedge rich in organic matter. You can, though, go one better and actually grow plants that will turn your hedge’s undergrowth into a wildlife haven…
Primroses and knapweed provide nectar and pollen for bees and other useful insects; grasses can offer shelter to beetles and spiders while any dense growth can provide frogs, toads and newts with food, shelter and a place to hibernate. Hedgehogs won’t say no either.
So, with a little extra care, you can maintain the aesthetics of your hedge AND maximise its attractiveness to wildlife. Here is a list of undergrowth plants for hedges recommended by the English Hedgerow Trust. The addition of even one or two will make a big difference:
AGRIMONYAgrimonia eupatoria
BETONY Stachys officinalis
BLUEBELL Hyacinthoides non-scripta
BUGLE Ajuga Reptans
CELANDINE Ranunculus ficaria
COMMON KNAPWEED Centaurea nigra
COMMON MALLOW Malva sylvestris
COMMON VETCH Vicia sativa
COW PARSLEY Anthriscus sylvestris
COWSLIP Primula veris
DANDELION Taraxacum officinale
DARK MULLEIN Verbascum nigrum
DEAD NETTLE Lamium purpureum, Lamium amplexicaulis
DOG’S VIOLET Viola riviniana
FOXGLOVE Digitalis purpurea
GARLIC MUSTARD Alliaria petiolata
GREAT MULLEIN Verbascum
GREATER STITCHWORT  Stellaria holostea
HEDGE BEDSTRAW Galium mollugo
HEDGE MUSTARD Sisymbrium officinale
HEDGE WOUNDWORT Stachys sylvatica
HEMP AGRIMONY Eupatorium cannabinum
HENBIT DEADNETTLE Lamium amplexicaulis
HERB BENNET Geum urbanum
HONESTY Lunaria Annua
HYSSOP Hyssopus officinalis
MEADOW BUTTERCUP Ranunculus acris
MEADOW CRANES-BILL Geranium pratense
MEADOWSWEET Filipendula ulmaria
MUSTARD GARLIC Alliaria petiolata
NETTLE LEAVED  BELLFLOWER Campanula trachelium
NETTLE Urtica dioeca
OXEYE DAISY Leucanthemum vulgare
PRIMROSE Primula vulgaris
PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE Lythrum saclicaria
PURPLE RAMPING FUMITORY Fumaria purpurea
RAGGED ROBIN Lychnis flos-cuculi
RAMSONS Allium ursinum
RED CAMPION Silene dioica
RED DEADNETTLE Lamium purpureum
RIBWORT PLANTAIN Plantago lanceolata
ROUGH CHEVRIL Chaerophyllum temulum
SAGE WOOD Teucrium scorodonia
SELF HEAL Prunella vulgaris
SORREL Rumex acetosa
ST JOHNS WORT Hypericum   perforatum
SWEET CICELY Myrrhis odorata
TEASEL Dipsacus fullonum
TOADFLAX Linaria vulgaris
TUFTED VETCH Vicia cracca
UPRIGHT HEDGE PARSLEY Torilis japonica
VALERIAN Centranthus ruber
WESTERN RAMPING FUMITORY Fumaria occidentalis
WHITE CAMPION Silene alba
WHITE DEAD NETTLE Lamium album
WILD ANGELICA  Angelica sylvestris
WILD GARLIC Alliaria petiolata
WOOD AVENS Geum urbanum
YARROW Achillea millefolium
YELLOW ARCHANGEL. Lamiastrum galeobdolon,.
YELLOW RATTLE Rhinanthus minor
Ferns
BROAD BUCKLER FERN Dryopteris austriaca
HARD FERN Blechnum spicant
HART’S TONGUE Asplenium scolopendrium
LADY FERN Athyrium filix-femina
MALE FERN Dryopteris filix-mas
ROYAL FERN Osmunda regalis
SOFT SHIELD FERN Polystichum setiferum
NB: Why not improve the wildlife housing stock in your garden by including a few rock and/or log piles among the plants?