Find out what’s Flowering in & around my Wildlife Pond in October!

An Update from my Wildlife Pond in Autumn

Here’s a look across my wildlife pond, as pictured on the 5th September 2021. These Inula hookeri flowers were past their best, but some flowers were feeding the bees, hoverflies, and butterflies around my pond.

Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond in October.

I’ve been very fortunate – the wish I made for autumn sunshine (I expressed this hope at the end of my last update) came true!  September blessed us with glorious warm weather and uplifting sunshine; it was so hot on a couple of days that it felt like mid-summer!

This autumn, I’ve enjoyed some truly magical moments by my wildlife pond!  I’ve spotted many more dragonflies and damselflies visiting my pond over the past couple of months.  One of my oldest friends came to visit me on one of the hottest and sunniest days of September.  Together we sat outside in the sunshine beneath a parasol and as we chatted, I watched the silhouettes of countless large dragonflies as they whizzed over the parasol to visit my wildlife pond.  This was such a magical moment spent with a special person; I found it hard to believe many large dragonflies I was witnessing at once!

Aquatic Plants

Here’s a view of my wildlife pond, as pictured on the 26th September 2021. This Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’) is growing in regular soil, in the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond, but the white flowers just in front are Myosotis scorpioides alba – the white water Forget-me-not – an aquatic plant that’s growing in the water, in my pond. The other pink flower at the front is Sedum (Hylotelephium spectabile) – a superb source of nectar in autumn and a fabulous plant for bees and butterflies.

The last of my Ranunculus flammula flowers are now fading, but my Water Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpioides alba) flowers will continue blooming for a bit longer yet.  Although I can’t get quite as close as I’d like to these plants (as there’s a small wall that holds my pond and all the border plants around my pond – I view my pond from my garden path), I’ve observed many tiny insects visiting Myosotis scorpioides alba flowers, including mini bees, tiny hoverflies, and butterflies!  I am growing the white flowered form of Myosotis scorpioides – this is an aquatic plant that can be found growing in natural ponds, streams, and wet, boggy areas in the UK.  As this is a UK wildflower, our insects, invertebrates, and amphibians have had adequate time to build up relationships with this plant.  Above the surface of the water, Myosotis scorpioides produces accessible flowers with nectar to nourish bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, and other insects.  Underneath the water, Myosotis scorpioides‘s stems and leaves provide a place for newts to lay their eggs.  A female newt will wrap a Myosotis scorpioides’ leaf around a single egg to conceal the egg and protect it from predators.  This isn’t the only plant that newts use when laying their eggs, other popular plants for newts include: Mentha aquatica, Potamogeton crispus, Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Potamogeton lucens, Vallisneria spiralis, and Veronica beccabunga.

These Myosotis scorpioides alba plants have been flowering since the beginning of June 2021. Pictured on the 14th October 2021.

I am growing Myosotis scorpioides alba in an aquatic planter that I’ve filled with peat-free aquatic compost.  I’ve chosen to position this planter on the shelf in the shallower water, in the margins of my wildlife pond.  However, this aquatic plant could be grown anywhere where it will enjoy 1-10cm of water above the top of the planter and bright sunshine or partial shade.  This is a valuable pond plant that’s blessed with a long flowering period.  The regular Water Forget-Me-Not – the blue flowered form – Myosotis scorpioides and the white flowered form – Myosotis scorpioides alba – both produce beautiful flowers continuously from June until the end of October.  If you’d like to add these plants to your pond, the best thing to do is to visit aquatic nurseries (either online or in-person) next spring and order plants then, as this is when Myosotis scorpioides and Myosotis scorpioides alba are usually available.

Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’) and Sedums (Hylotelephium spectabile) bring a vibrancy to my wildlife pond with their glowing pink flowers. Pictured on the 26th September 2021.

Ranunculus flammula is another worthy edition to add to any pond.  This stunning aquatic plant also flowers from the beginning of June through until October.  My summer felt even sunnier, as my Ranunculus flammula plant filled my wildlife pond with hundreds of sunny buttercup flowers – this aquatic plant is a true delight!  I am growing Ranunculus flammula in a very similar way to Myosotis scorpioides alba – both of these plants are potted up in aquatic baskets of peat-free aquatic compost.  Their planters are placed on the shelf at the edge of my pond, where the water is about 10cm over the top of the planter.  Both of these aquatic plants thrive in full sunshine or partial shade.

The pure white flowers of Water Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpioides alba) and the sunny yellow flowers of Ranunculus flammula shine out from my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

Traditional gardening advice recommends we remove the faded leaves of aquatic plants in autumn, to prevent their foliage from breaking down in the pond, where the decaying leaves will enrich the pond’s water.  Nutrient rich pond water can fuel algae growth and it also exacerbates the growth of duckweed.  However, if you have any duckweed in your pond, duckweed will always spread.  Duckweed is a problem that pond guardians need to be mindful of – duckweed will always be a fast growing, invasive plant that requires regular, physical removal to control.

These Ranunculus flammula flowers have been total super-stars bringing joy and delight to my wildlife pond all summer. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

With regard to my aquatic plant’s autumn foliage, these leaves may be ragged and browned with distinctive hints of decay, but my aquatic plants’ leaves are often entrusted to hold a very precious cargo – dragonfly eggs.  If I were to remove my aquatic plants’ leaves now and compost them, I would be lowering my pond’s population of dragonflies next year.  This is something that I absolutely will not do!

Here’s a look across my wildlife pond, as pictured on the 5th September 2021. In the water, Myosotis scorpioides and Ranunculus flammula are flowering.

My pond is not displaying its beauty at the moment; this area of my garden appears at its best from May to August.  To be honest, if I were to remove all of my aquatic plant’s autumn foliage now, the act of doing this would not in any way enhance the appearance of my pond, and in this situation, with the decaying plant matter removed there would be fewer resources available to wildlife – accordingly my wildlife pond would not attract insects, amphibians, or wildlife, and so I wouldn’t be interested in this area of my garden either!  Hence why I have no intention of removing my aquatic plants’ fading foliage – I am leaving my plants for wildlife.

I recommend leaving aquatic plant’s foliage to die back naturally over autumn and winter.  I remove my aquatic plant’s faded foliage in late winter or early spring.

You might not be able to spot it, but there’s a tiny bee in this picture. I’ll zoom in and show you on my next picture. As spotted on the 9th September 2021.

Myosotis scorpioides alba has familiar white Forget-Me-Not- like flowers.  These aquatic plants are hardy perennials that come back to flower again each year. Plants also produce seeds, which are best sown from May to June, or in September.  I can’t easily reach my wildlife pond, so I’ve not collected or sown any seeds.

Here’s a cropped version of the same photograph, showing the teeny-tiny, mini bee.

My picture below shows my Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) plants’ foliage – their leaves are starting to fade now, as the cooler autumn weather arrives.

A look into my wildlife pond on the 1st September 2021. The tips of my Marsh Marigolds’ leaves are beginning to die back now, but I’m leaving these plants’ leaves untouched and allowing them to fade and slowly sink into the water. By leaving my aquatic plants’ leaves alone I will help dragonflies.

Algae

Aquatic plants, algae, and duckweed in my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 29th August 2021.

I haven’t used my net since March 2021 (in March 2021 I dipped the net into the water once, I caught numerous damselfly larvae, then hurriedly returned the damselfly larvae to the water and put my net away!) because I haven’t wanted to disturb the developing newts or the damselfly and dragonfly larvae in the water.  Although I haven’t physically removed any algae, I’ve continued regularly adding packs of barley straw to my wildlife pond, as this helps control algae.

I’ve noticed wasps visiting the pond to drink and collect water. Pictured on the 12th September 2021.

I’ve continued adding weekly treatments of Ecopond Eco-friendly Barley-Bio Algae Control, as this product is reputed to control algae.  I’m not aware of any improvements in the concentration of algae in my wildlife pond from using this product, but as it’s safe for wildlife and I’ve already paid for it, I’ve continued using it.

I would really like to get in and remove the algae and duckweed from my wildlife pond and then top my pond up with fresh rainwater.  However, at the moment I don’t feel that I can do this in case I accidentally lift out any of the newly laid dragonfly eggs or tiny dragonfly larvae without realising; so I am leaving things for the time being to allow the dragonfly larvae and any other invertebrates and pond life to increase in size.  If I had a bigger garden I could use large containers and move the algae and some of the pond water into them and fill my pond up with fresh rainwater, but I don’t have this luxury of space; I have a small garden that is full of my various Outdoor Trials!

I had expected that by the second week of October that I would have been able to progress with algae removal, but the recent warmer weather and flurry of dragonfly activity has caused me to change my plans and delay by a couple of weeks.

NB. I no longer top up my wildlife pond with tap water – I only use rainwater in my pond.  I have a water butt that collects rainwater from my shed roof – this water butt is only used to collect water to top up my pond.

Duckweed

Here’s a look across my pond but you can also see into the water – the duckweed hasn’t reached this side of the water, yet. My Clematis ‘Kaiu’ flowers are fading now. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

Since my last update, the duckweed in my pond has naturally increased, which is entirely as I expected, as no one has attempted to remove any duckweed.  I intend to clear as much duck weed as possible from the water, so that I can be in the situation where regular, light removal (using my net) will maintain a clear pond.

Here’s a look at the duckweed spreading in my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

The trick is to find the optimum moment to do remove the duckweed that will cause the least disruption to the wildlife in my pond.  I had expected to be clearing the algae and duckweed at this time of year, but with so much recent dragonfly activity and so many newly laid dragonfly eggs I am delaying taking any action for the moment.  It’s important to allow any damsel and dragonfly larvae in my pond to reach a large enough size, so that I can spot any we accidentally remove when we finally clear the duckweed and algae, as this will allow me a better chance of returning the dragonfly and damselfly larvae back to the water.

A closer look at the duckweed in my wildlife pond. This plant is astounding! It’s such a fast grower and multiplies at lightening speed. Pictured on the 12th September 2021.

Duckweed will not go away by itself, it will continue multiplying.  I am hoping that before my next update I will have cleared the majority of the duckweed from the pond water; then it will just be a case of using my net regularly to control the duckweed and prevent it taking over my pond.

A look down into my pond on the 9th October 2021. My white flowered Water Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides alba) is still flowering and the duckweed is spreading!

Why am I experiencing problems with duckweed now when I wasn’t troubled by it before?  I used to have a pond skimmer in this pond – my skimmer was in operation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  The skimmer collected up any leaves that fell onto the surface of the water and it also gathered up any duckweed.  The duckweed was not noticeable, as my pond skimmer was in operation continually – so as soon as one or two tiny duckweed plants arrived at my pond (birds often deliver duckweed on their feet, after visiting another pond with duckweed) – they were removed by the pond skimmer.

Myosotis scorpioides alba and duckweed growing in my wildlife pond on the 14th October 2021.

Why have I stopped using the pond skimmer?  The pond skimmer I was using worked brilliantly at collecting up leaves and duckweed, but I found a newt had become trapped in the collection basket and died and so I stopped using this product and I no longer recommend it.

My white flowered Water Forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides alba) are coming to the end of their flowering time, but this plant still has some flowers for the insects that visit my wildlife pond. Look at the green duckweed – this is a super-fast growing plant that soon covers a garden pond.

Border plants

Veronica spicata is the blue flower in the narrow border in front of my wildlife pond, near the rhubarb and Hylotelephium spectabile (Sedums). I am not a fan of blue flowers, but I love to grow plants for insects and bees, hoverflies, and butterflies, all appreciate these flowers. Behind, ivy (Hedera helix) is in bud. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

In my ideal world, I’d have a larger garden with plenty of room for a large pond that’s surrounded by a really wide border with space to grow many more plants around my pond; however in the real world, I am very fortunate indeed to have a small garden.  I have crammed the largest pond I could into my garden, which has meant that there is only the narrowest of borders around my pond!  I’d always recommend creating the widest border you can around your pond.  The circumference of a pond provides an ideal opportunity to grow plants with accessible flowers for wildlife; why not include wildflowers?  The borders around our ponds provide precious shelter and safety for newts, frogs, toads, and hedgehogs; thereby allowing wildlife to safely visit the water undetected by predators.

Here’s a look across my pond on the 9th September 2021. My Water Forget-me- not (Myosotis scorpioides alba) is blooming, its flowers really enhance my wildlife pond and provide food for insects.

I’ve planted up this narrow strip around my wildlife pond with plants that bloom from early spring until late autumn.  I am growing Rosa ‘Wild Edric’, a beautiful, naturally healthy rose with highly perfumed, delightfully scented flowers that are accessible to bees and other insects.

Rosa ‘Wild Edric’ produces these fabulous blooms which are semi-double but have pollen that’s accessible to bees and butterflies. Pictured on the 2nd September 2021.

See more of my wildlife pond’s border plants’ latest flowers, in my pictures below.

Beetles

Shield bugs go through many different instars (changes) before they develop their final adult stage.

I’ve noticed that I often spot shield bugs on the Inula hookeri seed heads produced by the plant growing alongside my wildlife pond.

I spotted this handsome shield bug in a lovely shade of emerald green, on the Inula hookeri seed heads. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
I am hopelessly in love with European Rose Chafers. Have you ever seen a more handsome creature?
I spotted this gorgeous beetle – the European Rose Chafter – walking alongside my wildlife pond, on the 5th September 2021.
I spotted this stunning European Rose Chafer resting on one of the Verbena bonariensis plants by my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 9th October 2021.

I am not certain of how long a life adult European Rose Chafer beetles enjoy, but I instinctively feel that they most likely will fade away at this time of year – in autumn.  I hope there are the larval stages of European Rose Chafer beetles developing in my garden soil.  European Rose Chafers are one of my favourite insects – I adore them!

On a neighbouring plant I spotted this European Rose Chafer resting on a leaf. Although this beetle was alive, I think it has come to the end of its life. Pictured on the 9th October 2021.
I was surprised to see this European Rose Chafer in amongst the foliage by my wildlife pond, on the 14th October 2021.
The European Rose Chafer is a magnificent insect. I try to make my garden as welcoming as possible to this charming insect. I grow roses and other flowers that I know European Rose Chafers enjoy foraging on. Pictured on the 14th October 2021.

Climbing plants

‘Strawberry Hill’ is a climbing rose that’s suited to growing up obelisks and over small arches. Pictured on the 2nd September 2021.

I’ve been thrilled with many of the climbing plants I’m growing around my wildlife pond.

My ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses have performed superbly this year.  During the summer and early autumn months, my ‘Strawberry Hill’ roses have flowered repeatedly at regular intervals.  Whilst they are in bloom, these roses beautifully perfume the area around my pond with their exceptionally sweet myrrh scent.  This rose’s perfume is far more pronounced during warm summer days, as the increased temperatures help to make this rose’s scent more powerful and intense.  In summer, my ‘Strawberry Hill’ rose’s scent permeates further through the garden, enveloping the entire pond area in its sweet perfume; in autumn the scent doesn’t usually travel as far, as temperatures are cooler.

If your ivy (Hedera helix) hasn’t flowered, it might be because your plant has been trimmed or pruned. It’s the oldest stems that produce flowers, younger ivy growth climbs or produces leaves. If you keep trimming ivy it will in effect stay young and won’t progress to the flowering stage.

The ivy (Hedera helix) hedge by my wildlife pond is still covered in flowers that attract bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths; many of these interesting green flowers have now been pollinated but there are flowers remaining.  The pollinated ivy blooms will start to develop into berries.

Ivy (Hedera helix) is an important plant in my garden, providing birds and other wildlife with shelter and somewhere to nest, as well as food for bees and butterflies in the form of nectar, followed by valuable berries that feed birds in wintertime.

The honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) that’s growing with the ivy (Hedera helix) around one side of my wildlife pond has flowered so beautifully this year.  This honeysuckle is still in flower at the moment in mid October.  The scent of this honeysuckle’s flowers is absolutely divine it’s a real treat!

Clematis ‘Kaiu’ has recently finished flowering but this plant has been a delight all summer long.

I was so happy to see this rainbow at the end of the day on the 3rd October 2021. The gold is clearly in my ivy and honeysuckle next to my wildlife pond. This is something I would whole heartedly agree with – these plants are so valuable for wildlife – they are quite literally worth their weight in gold.

Birds

These three Sparrows took an evening bath and a night cap from our wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

My wildlife pond attracts a range of garden birds.  I haven’t spotted any rare birds in my garden, but the Sparrows, Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens, and Blue Tits that I see in my garden delight me!

Snails

I spotted this Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) with slightly unusual colourings and markings in the narrow border around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

I don’t use any slug pellets.  If I see slugs or snails in my garden I leave them alone.  Hedgehogs, frogs, newts, beetles, birds, and other wildlife all predate on slugs and snails.

I spotted these two snails (Cornu aspersum) cosying up under one of the rose leaves by my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

Slugs and snails aren’t a problem for roses.  This snail is just using this leaf as a shelter and place to rest a while – my roses aren’t damaged by either slugs or snails.

How to Help Bees, Hoverflies, Butterflies, Moths, & All Other Insects

This bumble bee has bushy moustache! Pictured on Inula hookeri flower, next to my wildlife pond, on the 2nd September 2021.

If you care about butterflies and moths, bees, hoverflies, beetles, dragonflies, damselflies, and other insects, you can help them by:

Bees, Hoverflies, & Pollinating Insects

I’ve observed so many bees, hoverflies, and other insects around my wildlife pond this autumn.

Here are some of the insects I’ve spotted around my garden pond…..

Knautia arvensis is a superb plant for bees and butterflies. A true bee magnet that’s easy to grow; this drought tolerant perennial is floriferous and easy going – good character traits to possess. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

Knautia arvensis is a fabulous plant for bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other insects.  If you’d like to find out more information on how to grow Knautia arvensis, please click here.

I spotted this bee drinking the nectar from this Verbena bonariensis flower and then noticed this Woundwart Shield Bug Nymph (Eysarcoris venustissimus) underneath! Pictured on the 4th September 2021.

Verbena bonariensis is another brilliant plant for bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other insects!

This slender solitary bee (possibly Lasioglossum calceatum) was busy delving into this pin cushioned Knautia arvensis flower. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

More Knautia arvensis flowers!

These Hylotelephium spectabile (Sedums) are just coming into flower. The flowers are still in bud, but every time I glance at them there’s at least one bee probing around for nectar. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

Hylotelephium spectabile is a useful plant for a bright and sunny area.  These hardy, herbaceous perennials thrive in free-draining soils and attract a wide range of pollinators, including bees, hoverflies, and butterflies.

This slender solitary bee (possibly Lasioglossum calceatum) was busy probing the Knautia arvensis flowers around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
This honey bee spent some time foraging for nectar from the Veronica spicata flowers that are growing around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
This bumble bee has a mite attached. Bumble bees live alongside a number of mites, the mites aren’t all as harmful as you’d expect; although varroa mites are very destructive indeed to bees. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

I told you that Knautia arvensis was a great plant for bees!

Here’s another view of the same bee with mite attached. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
This hoverfly was busy checking out the Knautia arvensis flowers that are growing in the narrow border that surrounds my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
As well as being wonderful plants for bees and butterflies, both Knautia arvensis flowers and the plant’s seed heads make fabulous cut flowers. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
I watched this honeybee travel all around this Knautia arvensis flower, feasting upon the flower’s nectar at every one of its ray florets’ feeding stations.
I find it so enjoyable to be outdoors with bees and butterflies. It was wonderful to see this sweet honey bee enjoying the Knautia arvensis flowers I’m growing around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.

More Knautia arvensis flowers – this is a fabulous plant for UK gardeners!

This bee had a lovely time refuelling at the Knautia arvensis flowers around my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
Veronica spicata’s individual flowers are pretty tiny, so it’s difficult to convey just how small this little bee is. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
Knautia arvensis attracts a wide range of bees, hoverflies, and butterflies. I wouldn’t be without this lovely perennial. Plants are easy to grow from seeds sown outdoors from September until the end of November.
Knautia arvensis is completely hardy. This plant is stunning; it’s a magnet for bees and butterflies. Knautia arvensis is so easy going, it’s drought tolerant, too. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
Veronica spicata flowers are tiny; these plants attract a wide range of bees, including this small solitary bee (Lasioglossum calceatum). Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
Verbena bonariensis thrives in the narrow border around my wildlife pond. It’s easy to make room for this plant, as it combines well with taller and shorter plants and is drought tolerant and doesn’t need watering. Pictured on the 12th September 2021.

Verbena bonariensis flowers are a magnet for a wide range of insects.

This solitary bee is Lasioglossum calceatum, but I’ve observed bumble bees, solitary bees, and butterflies, visiting the Veronica spicata flowers by my wildlife pond.
There are plenty of Knautia arvensis flowers around my wildlife pond, but they’re so popular that the insects, like this bumble bee and hoverfly often have to share. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

Knautia arvensis is one of our native UK wildlife flowers.  This is one of the top plants I’d recommend gardeners plant to help insects in our UK gardens.

Veronica spicata is superb plant to grow for bees. My plants are thriving in the free-draining, sandy soil around my pond. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
These Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ flowers are so bright! I tend to favour a softer palette of colours, but I’ve chosen these plants because of their value for wildlife. Pictured on the 12th September 2021.

This cheery daisy is such a loud and proud plant – it’s called Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ – its name is a bit of a mouthful!  This plant is a cheerful thug that will happily take over any space you give it or any space it can take – for this reason don’t plant this Symphyotrichum near countryside or open, wild areas.

This solitary bee (Lasioglossum calceatum) was a fast mover, stopping for just a second or two to feed from each Veronica spicata flower.
I’ve not dead-headed my Knautia arvensis flowers very often, but this is a truly easy to grow plant that’s very floriferous and is still flowering in my garden. This Syrphus ribesii hoverfly visited these flowers on the 9th September 2021.

My Knautia arvensis plants have been blooming since May; their flowers are fading now.

My other Inula hookeri flowers have faded now and are going to seed. This solitary bee was revelling in the pollen and nectar this flower provided. Pictured on the 12th September 2021.

I spotted this tiny solitary bee enjoying the last of the Inula hookeri flowers by my wildlife pond.

These elderly Verbena bonariensis flowers are still an important source of nectar for the bees and butterflies that visit my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

Here’s another Verbena bonariensis flower; this flower has been out for ages but it’s still feeding bees!

Veronica spicata is superb plant to grow for bees. My plants are thriving in the free-draining, sandy soil around my pond. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
Feverfew (also known by its botanical name Tanacetum parthenium) is a great plant to grow if you want to attract hoverflies to your garden. This hoverfly is also known by its scientific name, Syrphus ribesii.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a good plant for hoverflies – I often spot a hoverfly on my Feverfew plants by my wildlife pond.

These Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flowers are just opening up; the bees are delighted with them! This plant is such a vigorous grower; one tiny fragment of a plant becomes a huge clump in a couple of years. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

These Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flowers provide an abundance of flowers in late summer and early autumn.

This is one of the last Inula hookeri flowers that’s still going, providing nectar and pollen for insects. I observed this solitary bee (Lasioglossum calceatum) relishing this flower on the 12th September 2021.

My Inula hookeri plant is always popular with bees, hoverflies, and other pollinator insects.

This Knautia arvensis flower is past its best but it’s still providing valuable pollen and nectar for bees and other insects. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

Even raggedy Knautia arvensis flowers like these pictured above attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.  When I see older flowers attracting insects I always feel that I am receiving a message from Mother Nature asking us not to be too hasty when dead-heading flowers.

This bee spent ages on these Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ flowers by my wildlife pond. My friends Terry and Nicky gave me this plant, it’s another strong growing plant that needs regular dividing. Pictured on the 12th September 2021.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ isn’t a plant that I would particularly recommend, due to its burly, thuggish nature.  I keep hold of a tiny fragment of this plant each year and remove the rest to keep it under control.  My plant was a gift from some very dear friends.  Although Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ doesn’t flower for long, it can be useful, as its flowering time coincides with a time when many of our garden plants are fading; this Symphyotrichum is certainly popular with bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other insects.

This hoverfly was very small in size. Pictured on the 14th September 2021..
This hoverfly literally dived into these Veronica spicata flowers. Pictured on the 14th September 2021.
A beautiful bee feasting upon Symphyotrichum novae-angliae nectar by my wildlife pond on the 21st September 2021.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is another kind gift from my friends, Terry and Nicky.  This plant has a slightly longer flowering period – it blooms for a couple of weeks more than the other Symphyotrichum I have in my garden.

I was so happy to spot this dear little bee. Warm and sunny days at the end of September are a joy. When I’m outside with flowers and nature, I can feel myself being revived.
Warm and sunny days at the end of September feel like an unexpected gift. When I’m outside in the sunshine with flowers and nature these moments warm my soul and soothe every fibre in my body. At the moment, my ivy (Hedera helix) is swimming with bees, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects so it’s the ideal plant to visit at this time of year.

Ivy (Hedera helix) is a fabulous plant for all kinds of wildlife.  This evergreen looks good throughout the year and it’s drought tolerant, too!

Drone flies (Eristalis arbustorum) are a commonly seen pollinator in our gardens; they’re active from May to November, but I feel like I see Eristalis arbustorum more often at the end of September. Pictured on the 21st September 2021.
This gorgeous honey bee was enjoying the Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’) in my garden. Pictured on the 26th September 2021.

This shocking-pink daisy is called Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’.

There is so much to recommend ivy (Hedera helix) to gardeners, this drought tolerant plant doesn’t need any special care or attention; you won’t need to spend time watering ivy and there’s no need to tie it in.

Ivy (Hedera helix) is a plant that is an essential plant for my garden.  This drought tolerant plant is evergreen and looks good all year round.  Hedera helix produces insect-friendly flowers, followed by berries that are an important food source for birds during the winter months.

Asters are popular with bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects, so they’re great plants to include in your garden. This Aster is Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, I must warn you that this is a bit of a thug – one small clump will soon cover part of your garden. I divide my Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, every year and replant just a tiny section to prevent this Aster from overtaking my garden.
What a sweet little bee! This plant is Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’ pictured in flower in my garden, on the 26th September 2021.

This vibrant daisy is called Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Andenken an Alma Pötschke’.

I find spending time in my garden is wonderfully relaxing. I hope you’ll experience this in your own garden or allotment, too. I find that making my garden more beneficial to wildlife makes this area more beneficial for me, too.
Ivy (Hedera helix) flowers are a magnet for bees and butterflies in autumn. Pictured on the 26th September 2021.

My ivy (Hedera helix) looks good all the year round and needs very little care.

I adore daisies; bees and butterflies relish these flowers, too! This is Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, a particularly vigorous Aster. I wouldn’t recommend growing this Aster if your garden borders the countryside of backs onto a park or nature reserve, as I wouldn’t want this plant to over-take our native plants.
Eristalis arbustorum resting on an Inula hookeri leaf alongside my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 3rd October 2021.
A number of the ivy (Hedera helix) flowers by my wildlife pond have been pollinated but there are younger, newer flowers, which are still blooming today. The later flowers will help to provide a succession of nectar and pollen for insects; a longer period of ripening of the ivy berries will extend this important food supply for birds. I took this picture of a hoverfly (Eristalis arbustorum) feasting upon these Hedera helix flowers on the 14th October 2021.

Ivy (Hedera helix) is a wonderful plant for bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, and birds.

I spotted this drone fly (Eristalis arbustorum) feeding on the Hedera helix flowers by my wildlife pond, on the 14th October 2021.

Spiders

This tiny crab spider is about the size of my fingernail; it’s laying in wait to capture and feast upon a mini fly, aphid, thrips, or another insect that journeys to visit this Veronica spicata flower. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
Just a moment later, this crab spider caught its lunch! Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
Whilst the crab spider was devouring its meal, this solitary bee (Lasioglossum calceatum) arrived to feast upon Veronica spicata flowers’ nectar. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
I keep spotting tiny crab spiders on these Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flowers. My friends Terry and Nicky gave me this plant about 8 years ago. Every year, I remove a large clump and give it away and re-plant a tiny amount, as I want to grow other plants in my garden and without regular removal this plant would have taken over my garden!.

Butterflies

This Large White Butterfly (Pieris brassicae) stopped to enjoy Knautia arvensis flowers’ nectar. There were a number of Cabbage White Butterflies out this afternoon; this butterfly (or one of its friends) paused to feed from the Water Forget-Me-Not flowers that are growing in my pond, but they didn’t stop for long enough for me to get a picture. Pictured on the 5th September 2021.
I’ve noticed bees and butterflies enjoying Clematis ‘Kaiu’ flowers. I planted this clematis at least two years ago, it has taken a little while to establish but has put on a fantastic display this summer. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

I love this Clematis – Clematis ‘Kaiu’ – I found that this plant attracts a steady stream of bees and butterflies.  I’ve noticed that Clematis ‘Kaiu’ is particularly attractive to Holly Blue Butterflies.

A was so excited to spot this Holly Blue Butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) and a honey bee feeding simultaneously from the same Clematis ‘Kaiu’ flower! Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
I’ve observed Cabbage White Butterflies, Holly Blue Butterflies and bees enjoying Clematis ‘Kaiu’ nectar from both the centre of the flower and on the top outer edges of the blooms.
I couldn’t get any closer, but I managed to take this picture of a Holly Blue Butterfly flying to this ‘Kaiu’ Clematis flower and a bee enjoying nectar from the back of another bloom. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
This Small White Butterfly (also known by its scientific name Pieris rapae) is pictured feeding on Knautia arvensis nectar from flowers that are growing alongside my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.

Knautia arvensis is a fabulous plant for bees and butterflies.

I’ve zoomed in to show you this Holly Blue Butterfly taking in the nectar of ‘Kaiu’ flowers. I watch these butterflies feeding from the centre of these clematis flowers, as well as from the outside of the bloom, as this Holly Blue Butterfly is demonstrating.
I see large numbers of Holly Blue Butterflies in my garden, as I grow both of this butterfly’s caterpillar food plants (ivy – Hedera helix and Holly – Ilex), as well as flowers with nectar for these lovely butterflies.
It’s nice to see this wayward stem of Clematis ‘Kaiu’; as the flowers on the main framework of this plant (over my fence) have faded now. This Clematis flowers in summer, its blooms are popular with bees and butterflies. Pictured on the 9th September 2021.
My heart leapt with happiness when I spotted this Comma (Polygonia c-album) butterfly feasting upon Symphyotrichum novae-angliae nectar.

At this time of year, the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae plants in my garden are very popular with bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.

Comma Butterflies’ wings provide them with incredible camouflage and the chance to hide in plain sight, as the undersides of their wings resemble a dead leaf. The white marking on this butterfly’s underside looks like a comma, which is how this butterfly came to be named the ‘Comma’.
I am fascinated by the intricate beauty of Comma Butterflies. I adore these stunning butterflies and am so grateful to this Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) for attracting butterflies to my garden. Pictured on the 21st September 2021.
As well as feasting on nectar from flowers, Comma Butterflies also feed on the sweet sugary juices from over-ripe and rotting fruit. I’ve seen these butterflies delighting in feeding on any left over plums in my garden.
Many butterflies have declined in recent years, but Comma Butterflies numbers have increased and populations of these butterflies have grown and spread further across the UK.
I am always astounded by the exquisite beauty of Comma butterflies. This golden-brown butterfly can often be spotted enjoying the sunshine and flowers in our gardens during autumn. I observed this Comma feeding on the nectar of these Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) by my wildlife pond on the 21st September 2021.
These Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) are so invasive, they would have overtaken my entire garden by now had I not thinned them every year. Each year I consider replacing these Asters for another, but then change my mind and keep them after watching butterflies and bees enjoying the flowers. I spotted this Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) on the 26th September 2021.

Moths

I’ve not been using my moth trap, as I have a wasp nest in my garden, which is still active at the moment.  I don’t want to lure moths to the light only to find that they have devoured by the wasps!

I just adore Emerald Moths! I suspect that this Light Emerald Moth (Capaea margaritaria) is from a second brood. Pictured on the 13th September 2021.

Moths are not as popular as butterflies, but I love these fascinating insects just as much as I love butterflies!  Look at this stunning Light Emerald Moth, isn’t it magnificent?

This Light Emerald Moth is resting on a Verbena bonariensis stem. Verbena bonariensis have square shaped flowering stems. Pictured on the 13th September 2021.
Here’s a Dusky Thorn Moth (Ennomos fuscantaria) hiding in amongst some sticks I’ve propped up at one side of the pond. I am always looking to add more wood to my log pile, as it helps such a wide range of wildlife. Pictured on the 13th September 2021.

Dusky Thorn Moths are lovely moths with beautiful green eyes.  There’s something incredibly special about getting the opportunity to look a moth or dragonfly in the eye.

Light Emerald Moths are stunning! This moth is resting on a leaf by my wildlife pond. Pictured on the 13th September 2021.

To see the next update for my wildlife pond, please click here.

For gardening advice for October, please click here.

For gardening advice for November, please click here.

To see every update I’ve written about my wildlife pond, please click here.

For more articles about gardening for wildlife, please click here.

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One thought on “Find out what’s Flowering in & around my Wildlife Pond in October!

  1. Barb Perks

    October 16, 2021 at 8:24pm

    Thank you for such an informative article! I regret letting duckweed take hold, and will wait just a while to see if we can control it. We have a planting pouch in our pond which has become a favourite spot for a frog which we often see tucked in, watching us calmly. Some great plant suggestions here.
    Best wishes
    Barb

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      October 16, 2021 at 11:24pm

      Hello Barb

      It’s great to hear from you. That’s wonderful that a frog has nestled into one of your planting pouches and found its favourite spot – how lovely is that! Moments like these are so special!

      Duckweed is so annoying – it’s such a fast growing plant. The best thing to do is to use a net and clear all the duckweed at once, taking care not to dredge your pond – just scoop the duckweed from under the surface of the water. Then once the duckweed has gone, you need to sweep over the pond at least once a week, but ideally twice to control it – as it’s a never ending cycle of birds bringing new duckweed to the pond and the duckweed increasing. However, don’t worry – it will only take a few moments to carry out this maintenance and being by the pond is so relaxing. I am hoping that we can clear our duckweed this autumn and then we keep on top of it with regular net sweeping, but I want to leave it a little longer before we start any of this, as I saw dragonflies laying eggs in the pond just a couple of weeks ago.

      My pond skimmer kept the pond completely clear of duckweed, but a newt died trapped in the skimmer’s collection basket, so I would never use this product again.

      I’m so glad that you’ve found my planting ideas helpful. I’ll be adding more plant pages as and when I can.

      Warmest wishes
      Beth

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