Monday, 23 November 2015


So I've managed to keep up with the blogging until the end of the season this year so well done me.

Autumn is the time for the apples and pears and I've had a bumper crop this year. Also cropping kale, carrots, leaf beet, autumn raspberries, blackberries and the outdoor grapes. Now there's been a frost I can make a start on the sprouts too.

Plants for pollinators in autumn

Flowering on the plot and in the garden in October and November:

Actaea simplex Atrropurpurea Group (Bugbane) 
Ageratina altissima "Chocolate"
Aster frikartii "Monch" 
Aster cordifolius "Little Carlow" 
Aster novae-angliae "Barr's Pink"
Catmint (Nepeta mussini)
Coreopseris verticillata
Cosmos "Sensation Mixed" and "Pied Piper"
Dahlia "Redskin" 
Echium "Blue Bedder" 
Evening primrose 
Helianthus "Lemon Queen" 
Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) 
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot, bee balm) 
Nicotiana "Lime Green"
Perovskia "Blue Spire" (Russian sage)
Phacelia tanacetifolia (second crop)
Rose Campion
Rudbeckia "Marmalade"
Scabiosa atropurpurea "Oxford Blue" 
Verbena bonariensis
Wallflower "Bowles Mauve" 

Much of what has been flowering over the summer continues into autumn of course but some plants save their glory for this time of year, amongst them actaea, ageratina, monkshood and ivy.

From my observations I'd say that the favourite for the bees at this time of year has been the cosmos and dahlias, until the frost finally finished them off at the end of November. And an important food for butterflies is the rotting fallen fruit in the orchard so it's just as well I'm too lazy to tidy it up.

 Dahlias are popular with the bees at this time of year... is the cosmos.

Aster novae-angliae "Barr's Pink" flowers in October... does monkshood...

...and Ageratina altissima "Chocolate".


Ivy deserves a special mention as it is such an important plant at this time of year for providing nectar and pollen for bees. In fact recent research has shown that almost ninety per cent of pollen being brought back to honey bee hives in autumn comes from ivy; no doubt wild bees and other insects are making much use of it too.

Ivy will clamber into trees but rarely swamps them, after all they have been co-existing for thousands of years. It has two stages of growth, a juvenile stage when it is climbing and then a mature stage with different oval-shaped leaves and the all-important flowers. Furthermore it provides vital shelter for our little wild birds in the cold of winter and then berries and a nesting place in spring.