The nectar rich garden in September

Posted in All posts, September, on

Summer may be fading, and the floral displays of June and July behind us, but some of the garden's most nectar rich flowers are just beginning to show their worth.  As the buddleia, that well-known bee and butterfly magnet, begins to fade, other purplish blooms come into their own.

The Michaelmas daisies are out in force, spangling the far borders with their starry flowers; nectar rich and a favourite of the visiting honey bees.  Ours are a pale lilac, and I’m tempted to intersperse them with some of these deep amethyst-coloured Aster amellus 'Veilchenkonigin' for a two-toned effect and even more food for the bees.

The Verbena bonariensis, which I’ve written about before here, looks wonderful at this time of year against the gold and oatmeal colours of the grasses.  It continues to provide a good source of nectar throughout the autumn for bees, butterflies and hoverflies alike.

Nearby, bumblebees cover the cones of the Echinacea purpurea, their sun-bleached fur making them increasingly difficult to identify.  There are fat queens, ready for hibernation; dozy males; tired, faded workers; and lazy southern cuckoo bumblebees. The flowers of Echinacea 'White Swan' are a pretty alternative to the usual pink, lending bright contrast to the garden’s prevailing purples, and are no less popular with the pollinators.

Though still pale, the ample landing platforms of the Sedum 'Herbstfreude' are already attracting honey bees. As the flowers develop in to their full ruby glory, these busy workers will be joined by the last of this year’s bumblebees for a seasonal feast.

Thanks for reading,

Helen D writes about simple pleasures and seasonal observations at The House at Nab End. She is a volunteer BeeWalker for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and her gardening is inspired by her love of the natural world.