As summer slowly fades away and we welcome the cool embrace of autumn, the United Kingdom undergoes a colorful transformation. September marks a special time of year when many flowers decide to put on a spectacular show before the colder months arrive. While the summer blooms may be waning, the British landscape is far from devoid of beauty. We share some of the stunning flowers that grace our garden at this time of year, adding a touch of vibrancy to the transition from summer to autumn.
As September unfolds, nasturtiums continue to bloom with their fiery, jewel-toned flowers. These annuals are known for their vibrant orange, red and yellow blossoms. These cheerful flowers not only add a pop of colour to your garden but also serve as a delightful source of nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. The spicy and peppery taste of nasturtium leaves and flowers can also be used to enhance the flavour of salads, making them not just visually appealing but also edible. And they self-seed.
Abelia, with its delicate and fragrant white or pale pink flowers, graces gardens in September with its elegance. This deciduous shrub is not only a charming addition to your landscape but also a valuable resource for pollinators. Bees are particularly drawn to its sweet-scented blossoms. Additionally, abelia’s evergreen foliage provides shelter for insects and birds, making it a multifunctional plant for your garden.
Japanese anemones are a lovely sight in September, flaunting their elegant, cup-shaped blooms in shades of pink and white. These perennials are favoured by us for their long-lasting flowers, which can last well into autumn. Japanese anemones are a vital late-season food source for bees and butterflies, ensuring that pollinators have sustenance as the temperatures begin to drop.
Borage, also known as the “starflower,” is a versatile herb that continues to bloom in September. With its striking blue, star-shaped flowers, borage adds a vivid touch to any garden. Not only do these flowers attract bees, but borage is also a favourite of honeybees, providing them with nectar to produce delicious honey. The flowers are not only beautiful but also edible, often used to garnish cocktails and salads.
Alstroemeria, often referred to as the “Peruvian lily” or “lily of the Incas,” graces gardens in September with its captivating and exotic-looking flowers. These perennials come in an array of colours, including shades of pink, orange and purple. Alstroemeria is a valuable late-season nectar source for butterflies, making it a delightful addition to any wildlife-friendly garden.
Salvias, commonly known as “sages,” offer an explosion of colour in September, with their vibrant spikes of red, purple and blue flowers. These hardy perennials are not only drought-tolerant but also attract a plethora of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. In addition to being a beautiful garden addition, many sage varieties are prized for their aromatic foliage and culinary uses.
Verbena, with its slender stems crowned by clusters of small purple or pink flowers, is a late summer and early autumn bloomer that provides pollinators with a valuable source of nectar. This perennial wildflower is loved by bees and butterflies. Its airy growth habit adds a touch of whimsy to any garden, and it self-seeds readily, ensuring its presence for years to come. Another winner.
Astrantia, commonly known as “masterwort,” offers a unique charm to September gardens with its intricate, star-shaped blossoms that resemble tiny pincushions. These perennials are available in various colours, including shades of pink, white and deep red. Astrantia’s dainty flowers provide a late-season food source for bees and other small pollinators. Additionally, their unique appearance adds a touch of sophistication to cottage-style gardens.
Cornflowers, also known as “bachelor’s buttons,” paint the garden with vibrant blue hues in September. These annual wildflowers are not only easy to grow but also serve as a valuable source of nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies. Their cheerful appearance makes them a popular choice for wildflower meadows and cottage gardens.
In addition to providing an exquisite array of colours, these September-blooming flowers play a crucial role in supporting pollinators, which can you can see our video above. As the days grow shorter and temperatures start to cool, many pollinators struggle to find the necessary nectar and pollen to sustain themselves. However, the presence of these late-season blooms ensures that bees, butterflies and other insects have access to the sustenance they need.
Bees, for instance, are among the most important pollinators in our ecosystem, responsible for pollinating a wide range of crops and wildflowers. They need access to nectar and pollen throughout the growing season to thrive and support biodiversity. By planting these September-blooming flowers, you can do your part to provide essential nourishment for these industrious insects.
Butterflies, too, benefit from these flowers. Many species of butterflies are still active in September, and they require nectar-rich flowers to fuel their journeys and reproduction. The colourful blossoms of nasturtiums, abelia, Japanese anemone, and the like serve as vital refueling stations for these delicate insects.
So, as you plan your autumn garden, consider including these September-blooming beauties. Not only will you be treated to a visual feast of colours, but you’ll also be contributing to the health and well-being of our precious pollinators, ensuring a more vibrant and biodiverse ecosystem for the future. Your garden can be a sanctuary of life, even as the seasons change, reminding us of the intricate connections that bind us to nature.