Autumn is the time in the gardening year when we head outside and tidy up. I don’t. I leave seedheads where they are – they’re great for hibernating insects or food for birds.

Instead, I take stock of the garden and work out what plants I need for pollinators next year; those loved by pollinators are usually attractive to us too.

Bees, butterflies, hoverflies and more need our help – planting plenty of nectar and pollen rich plants that flower through the seasons is just what the insect-doctor ordered. In mild winters, bumblebees can be out and about in January and February so have you got room in your pots or borders for snowdrops, aconites, crocuses or mahonia? How about rosemary, acquilegia or grape hyacinths for early spring or honesty, lavender, scabious and verbena as the months roll on? Alliums and globe thistles attract all sorts of pollinators from butterflies and bees to beneficial beetles and bugs; plant night-scented stock or tobacco plants and you will hopefully attract a few moths.

Buddleia, known as the butterfly bush for good reason, doesn’t have to grow tall – I’ve got dwarf versions in my garden that pollinators love; fuschias, sedums and Michaelmas daisies will see our pollinating friends through into late autumn. If you can bear to leave it until spring, ivy blossom provides food for insects, the berries provide food for birds and the leaves provide vital shelter for hibernating butterflies and moths.

If you’re a veggie grower, why not add companion plants into your beds – nasturtium leaves are great for diverting caterpillars away from your prize beans while the flowers are loved by busy bumblebees.

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