Remember wildlife this September!

Hoverfly © Ken Dolbear MBE 

Early Autumn has arrived with crisp, sunny mornings, cooler temperatures and no doubt a blustery, rainy day or two. In the garden this month, the focus is on making the most of remaining vegetation to provide food and shelter for wildlife, plus a couple of new additions you can create.

What to do

  • Leave sunflower, teasel and thistle seed heads in place for birds
  • Clean out drainpipes and gutters that are connected to water butts and put detritus on compost heap
  • Use a garden rake to regularly remove leaves from pond surface, before they sink and decay in pond
  • Leave things to die back naturally rather than clearing away. These nooks and crannies in the dead vegetation will be the perfect place for hibernating insects. Keep weeding to a minimum still and let those things with late flowers - flower
  • Make a bug mansion
  • Create a hoverfly lagoon with grass cuttings in a bowl of water. Put it in a shady, warm place and next month they will hatch – they are excellent pollinators.  Do not be tempted to throw away the smelly bowl of water until the winter is here, to allow the last eggs to hatch (they will hibernate as adults over winter in a warm crevice in your garden)!

What to see

Species of the month for September is the hoverfly, the master of disguise! Common in hedgerows, gardens and woodlands, the hoverfly is identifiable by its wasp-like appearance, with a black body and yellow spots and bands. You’ll spot the adults feeding on the nectar of garden flowers. Spindly- legged craneflies (or daddy longlegs) will be flitting around both in and outside and ever-helpful ladybirds will be busy keeping aphids in check.  Look out also for the small tortoiseshell butterfly and the stunning peacock butterfly providing some flashes of Autumnal hues.

What to plant 

  • Perennials to plant include: Rudbeckia and Echinacea
  • Plant bulbs in the Autumn for early Spring flowers: Alliums, daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinth, crocus, snakes head fritillary, bluebells
  • Wildflowers seeds which can all be sown now include: Cowslip, chamomile, lady’s bedstraw, tufted vetch, common knapweed, betony, meadow buttercup or you can buy a wildflower mix which has a mixture of all of these
  • Phacelia can be sown which acts as green manure as well
  • Hellebores planted now will give you lovely winter flowers

Shrubs to consider for your garden:

  • Privet
  • Firethorn (pyracantha)
  • Ceanothus –Californian lilac
  • Flowering Currant
  • Heathers

Some climbers to consider:

  • Ivy
  • Hops
  • Travellers joy or wild clematis

Or for around your pond or bog garden: