Please read the introductory page in the Real Botany of Desire for the background to why I’m listing the observed insect favourite flowers that bloom during this month, and which seem to be the most popular with the groups of insects which frequent our garden. Common Ivy, Hedera helix, is the one flower I’d recommend for including in any garden as an insect friendly flower for this late in the year …
If reading the introductory page is a click too far, then briefly, there’s a huge issue with loss of wild flowers as agriculture intensifies and mono-cultures prevail. This impacts on all the insects which rely on flowers as food sources. But all flowers aren’t equal in their appeal to insects, or particular groups of insects, (e.g. Honeybees, Bumblebees, Hover flies, Moths, Butterflies) and many nursery bred plants have been designed to be attractive to our senses, not insects. Some flowers are useful as both pollen and nectar sources (P,N) whereas others just seem to provide one of these insect foodstuffs, and I’ll try to include this information with the images. So this simple record is to help gardeners think about this issue, and maybe plant more flowers to help our very diverse native insect groups. I’ve found that many of the best plants seem to be some of our native wild flowers which can in other respects have real garden merit. Equally there are many plants from the other side of the globe which are preferentially favoured over native flowers at certain times of the year – there is no simple easy guide to their relative appeal. The positive spin offs from incorporating more insect friendly flowers in our gardens apart from the appeal of seeing the insects themselves will be better pollination of our crops, and more varied wildlife in our gardens, since insects are at the bottom of many animal food chains.
It’s certainly not exhaustive, and if you know other flowers which have equal appeal, which aren’t listed here, do please let me know, and I’ll trial them up here as well. This work started a couple of years before my blog began in March 2011, but previous to that I’d produced the UK’s first DVD-ROM guide to Garden Moths ” In A Different Light”. This project attempts to widen that work in a more general way.
Not much to record in the garden for these next 3 months, since of course with falling temperatures there will be few insects around in a ‘normal’ year. Though perhaps the definition of ‘normal’ will need to change with changing weather patterns. Also very few of our plants flower for the first time in November. In a mild year quite a few flowers remain from those blooming in October, so do check that month’s listings.
Finally as I mention elsewhere, the actual number of flowers of a single plant type growing together, and their position in the garden (e.g.sun or shade), can also impact on how favoured the flowers are by your garden’s insect population – probably because sun and warmth can affect nectar and pollen production and release.
… Beginning to bloom with us in November are Camellia sasanqua, and they do seem to attract a number of the small flies which are still around on mild days. This cultivar is C.sasanqua ‘Narumigata’. But autumn of 2011/12 was the first and only time so far that these plants have flowered with us. This is the only plant, it seems which begins to flower in November and has any real insect appeal.26/11/11 …
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Last updated 23/01/2013