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:
- Globe thistle
- Japanese anemones
- Michaelmas daisies.
- 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.
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