6 plants to provide colour and to attract wildlife in autumn
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Summer months always seem to last shorter than wintertime. And although autumn is already in the air we can prolong this summer vibe by adding plants to our borders that will flower throughout the next months.
Additionally, If you want to make your garden wildlife-friendly it’s important to provide food for pollinators all year round - many species still look for nectar-rich plants over the winter (I won't be going into details here - I recommend this article if you are interested in what busy bees do during winter months).
Okay, so here we go:
Dahlias’ colours and shapes will catch people’s eyes and will make them stop when walking through the garden (certainly this is how they work for me).
If you will provide them the right care - grow them in full sun in fertile soil, stake them, not let them dry out during hot spells and regularly deadhead them - you will be able to enjoy their flowers from summer through the autumn (especially if you live in the south of the UK).
For bee-friendly option look for single or semi-double varieties like: ‘Bishop of Leicester’, ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, ‘Chimborazo’, ‘Yellow Hammer’, ‘Happy single wink’
Japanese anemone is one of those universal plants that work great in mixed bord
These anemones will grow in full sun as well as in partial shade and would deal well with both hot and cold weather. What else do we need?
Rudbeckia's intense colours will not let summer go so easily from your garden. Rudbeckias are most known for their yellow blooms but there are also orange and red flowering varieties.
Very satisfying to grow from seeds as they are easy to grow and each plant gives plenty of flowers right into the autumn. Thrives best in full sun.
Sweet scabious (Sacbiosa atropurpurea)
Another win-win: not too fussy about place to grow, they make great cut flowers, look amazing filling out the border and with its nectar and pollen-rich flowers these are very valuable for the wildlife-friendly garden (especially bees, butterflies and moths and if left for winter it will provide seeds for birds)
They are hardy perennials with succulent leaves which can be a great addition as an architectural plant in borders or in a gravel garden. They thrive in well-draining, light soil.
Hylotelephium starts to flower late summer throughout autumn and those rich in nectar flowers will attract and provide food for pollinators.
If you’d like to add some contrast to your garden have a look at the dramatic, dark foliage of the variety ‘Purple Emperor’ or 'Desert Black'
Baneberry (Actaea sp)
Another proposition for shady borders/woodland gardens. It's often chosen for its foliage but spikes of small scented flowers late in the season is a big bonus - and also wildlife love them! The plant is easy to care, it is fully hardy, likes moist soil and will grow in partial and full shade. The flowers are rich in both nectar and pollen and will provide food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Don’t cut it straight after flowering - it will develop seed heads which will provide interest for winter months and will attract birds.
Of course, there are much more beautiful plants to enjoy during autumn.
Do you have any favourites?