Plants for structure

Gardeners and garden designers like to use the shapes and forms of plants to give structure and texture to their planting, so that it is visually interesting throughout the year. However there is another important aspect to the three dimensional structure of garden plants, which is the help it can provide to wildlife.

When it comes to the value that garden plants can offer for wildlife, most attention is usually focused on plants for pollinators and berry-bearing shrubs for birds. However, plants can also create a complex physical infrastructure that influences much of a garden’s environmental diversity and increases the ability of the garden to support lots of biodiversity. We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this ‘architecture’ and it guide your choice in gardening for wildlife.

Here are some of the principal ways in which plant structure influences garden diversity. Note that in all of these examples, the question of whether a plant is native or not is probably irrelevant.

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