Plants for Windy Sites

Some plants really do not like being exposed to wind. Garden Designer, Katrina Flad of frock n wellies, picks her top ten plants for creating a shelterbelt in Scotland.

Christmas berry, Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’
An upright shrub, with evergreen leaves. The tips of the branches and the leaves are red in spring, turning green later on. It is a hardy and interesting plant, with a modern feel. 

Alder, Alnus glutinosa
Excellent in damp wet soil, this tree is often covered in lichen. The small brown cones are a lovely feature for a bigger garden, as they can become over 25 metres in height. It is a nitrogen fixer, which can provide surrounding plants with nitrogen, transported by soil fungi.

Whitebeam, Sorbus aria
What a lovely tree, standing out especially in spring because of the radiant, almost white leaves. The berries are a favourite with birds. It can be even more attractive when kept small by pruning or by coppicing which creates a multi-stemmed small tree. 

Elderflower, Sambucus nigra
This fruit is great for the foragers amongst us. The white fragrant flowers make a lovely cordial while the healthy dark purple berries can be used to make jams. The cultivated dark leaves varieties are stunning too, including ones with fine laced leaves such as the variety ‘black lace’. These have less juicy berries, but their flowers work particularly well to make your own elderflower champagne. 

Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas
A smaller tree, growing up to 6 metres in height, this tree has all year interest. Interesting winter bark, yellow spring flowers and berries in autumn. Did you know that wood from this tree is so dense, that it sinks in water?

Common Hazel, Corylus avellana 
Hazel is native to Scotland and traditionally has many uses. The beautiful catkins are great, as long as you are not allergic. A large rounded shrub that can provide nuts in some years in Scotland but often the shelles remain empty up here. The leaves turn a stunning yellow in autumn.

Small leaved lime, Tilia cordata
This is a must for attracting pollinators both at their caterpillar stage and when flying. Although unassuming, this tree has scented flowers and a romantic presence in any larger garden. Although tolerant to wind, they are mainly found in lower altitudes. 

White poplar, Populus alba
This tree is excellent to create contrast in a row of green deciduous trees. The silver green leaves stand out and instantly draw in your eye which can be very helpful in designing successful planting plans. In autumn the leaves turn yellow and tend to tremble in the wind, before falling down eventually.

Goat willow, Salix caprea
A fast growing tree, loved by beekeepers. Unassuming but excellent when trying to create a shelterbelt. The flowers give this tree its other common name: pussy willow. The story goes that one spring time, kittens were playing in a stream and found themselves almost drowning. The distressed mother cried for help, so the willow bent down its branches and the kittens could climb up. Now we are reminded of this each spring, when the flowers with their soft fur decorate the branches. 

Wild privet, Ligustrum vulgare
This shrub with white summer flowers is easy to grow as a hedge. The flowers do attract a range of pollinators. The black berries that ripen in autumn are very poisonous. It has a dense habit so birds very much like to nest in this shrub. 

Katrina Flad runs her sustainable garden design and landscaping business frock n wellies from her home in Aberdeenshire. Passionate about the planet and all things that live on it, she wanted to make a real difference to her environment ever since she can remember. 

In this regular column, Katrina will bring you design solutions for your garden which are sustainable, practical and beautiful. Follow Katrina at frock n wellies on Instagram and Facebook

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