Combat November blues by planning year-round interest in your garden which will also feed your resident wildlife.

Top tips for year-round interest and wildlife

  • Choose simple flowers, not doubles
  • Develop a mini-meadow. Some butterfly larvae feed on long grass. Pollinators love meadow plants, such as Cowslips, Scabious, Ox eye daisies and Knapweed
  • Sow yellow rattle seed now. It’ll reduce grass growth in your mini-meadow, enabling wildflowers to flourish
  • Trees and shrubs can provide year-round pollen and nectar. Try Mahonia and Fatsia Japonica in autumn and winter, Prunus and Malus in spring, and Buddleia in summer
  • Trees and shrubs can also feed butterfly and moth larvae. Try Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Salix such as Goat Willow.

Even more top tips

  • Trees and shrubs with fruit and berries provide food for birds. November to March is a good time for planting
  • Mini-beasts and insects feed creatures higher up the food chain, such as hedgehogs and birds. Make a log pile, compost heap, and leave areas of leaf litter to provide food and habitat for mini-beasts
  • Keep bird feeders clean to prevent disease
  • Feed hedgehogs on meaty cat food or special hedgehog food. They’re still building themselves up for hibernation
  • Provide pollen and nectar all year round for bumble bees and other insects. You can choose different shaped flowers such as:
    • Hellebores
    • Wallflowers
    • Foxgloves
    • Honeysuckle
    • Globe thistle
    • Japanese anemones
    • Michaelmas daisies.

November plants

  • Ivy for late flowers, followed by berries
  • Viburnum tinus – winter-flowering, evergreen shrub
  • Viburnum x bodnantense – winter-flowering, deciduous shrub.

Fruit and vegetables

  • Plant fruit trees and bushes between now and March
  • Harvest parsnips after the first frost but leave some in the ground to flower next year. Insects love them, including natural pest controllers such as hover flies.

A bug sits on a flower.

Sources: Gardening for a Wilder Kent / British Hedgehog Preservation Society / Bumblebee Conservation Trust: Gardening for Bumblebees / Butterfly Conservation: Gardening / Royal Horticultural Society’s Plants for Pollinators