For some years, I have wanted to add colour to the autumn garden and it goes without saying that in a biodiversity garden, the plant of my choice had to be good for wildlife. There are huge number of plants available and I studied the Aster family. Now, with Asters that flower in autumn it has to be said that some Asters are not very attractive to butterflies at all, so please do some checking.
Based on the colour of flowers and being highly recommended, I purchased several Aster Little Carlow, which is a hybrid of A.cordifolius and A.novi-belgii and in my garden it is a true bee magnet. As soon as the sun is out, there are tens of honeybees on this plant as well as several butterfly species, Hoverflies and Bombus pascuorum workers, the only species of Bumblebee still around apart from the queen bumblebees such as this queen Bombus hypnorum, the rapidly spreading Tree bumblebee. She is fattening up for the winter so she needs all the nectar she can gets.
If you have a spot in your garden, I can really recommend this easy-going, lovely plant. The plant produces masses of small violet-blue flowers from late summer to mid-autumn. Grow to about a metre in hight so they may need staking.
Below: Hoverfly, which are also important pollinators, feeding on Asters.
Below: Honeybees feeding on Asters, mostly for nectar but on this warm autumn day, I saw them collecting pollen.
Can you see the pollen basket? Wonderful creatures, the honeybees.
The plants I bought from a nursery that uses no pesticides, an important consideration when purchasing bee plants.