Kate on Conservation

The Best Ways To Bring Pollinators To Your Garden

September has started, and with a turn in the temperature and a newfound briskness to the morning air; there’s a sure sense of the closing of summer.

As summer gives way to autumn, I’m beginning to return my attention to my garden – for now is a great time for the green-fingered among us to plan and plant a wild flower patch to come to life next spring.

This time of year, when the summer annuals and biennials (plants that flower and set seed within one or two growing years retrospectively, and then die) have finished flowering for the year, it’s a good idea to cut back these plants by leaving the stems to collapse and decay naturally; creating valuable habitats for insects to live in through the winter.

Perennial flower stems (those from plants which re-occur year after year) can be cut back to around 20cm and seed heads will scatter across your patch, creating food for birds as well as seeding your patch further.

But perhaps the easiest way to refresh the garden and create a thriving wild flower patch ‘nature reserve’ for next spring is to pop a seed ball on top of the soil, water and simply watch it grow.

Seedballs for wild flower meadows

Seedballs have been created by Conservation Scientists to make growing wild flowers from seed simpler.

They are their own mini ecosystem, protecting seed from birds, ants and slugs and giving them the nutrition they need to have a head start.

Each wildflower species has a different flowering time and length of time taken to come into flower – some will flower in the first year and others will flower in the following year – but once in flower, they will provide important habitat and food for an abundance of garden wildlife.

Seedball’s Bat Mix

Seedball’s Bat Mix has been created in collaboration with scientists at the Natural History Museum to help garden bats.

Bat Mix contains a special mix of wildflowers to attract a wide diversity of insects that bats feed on, including flowers that release their fragrance in the evening when bats are most active in our gardens.

The mix also has a plants with a combination of long and short pollen tubes and a range of colours and shapes of flower to maximise the number of insects that they attract.

Many of Britain’s bat species are in decline, faced with less roosting places and declining food availability. They have massive appetites, and a tiny Pipistrelle bat alone can eat over 3,000 mosquitoes a night!

Seedball’s Beetle Mix

Also made in collaboration with the scientists at the Natural History Museum, Seedball has created the ideal Beetle Mix to attract ladybirds and pollinating beetles.

Flowers in the Carrot or Umbellifer family (Apiaceae), and those with multiple flower heads, seem to be particularly attractive to these important — but often overlooked — pollinators.

Did you know that many beetles pollinated the first flowers 140 million years ago at the time of dinosaurs?

These critters continue to be super important to our garden ecosystems.

Ladybird-image-by-Kate-on-Conservation

Seedball’s Bird Mix

Bird Mix is designed, quite simply, to feed the birds — and it’s a much more sustainable option to buying bagged bird feed!

This mix will increase the number of birds seen in your garden by boosting the food supply for a wide range of birds including goldfinches, blue tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, robins and starlings,

According to the RSPB, a lack of habitat and food abundance has lead to huge decline (over 50% in the last 45 years) of many common UK garden bird species.

Whilst in bloom, the wildflowers are perfect for attracting insects that many birds feed on and birds will also feed directly on the plants and seeds themselves.

Advantages of autumn sowing

Although we mostly think of springtime as the time to sow wildflower seeds, you don’t have to wait until spring to scatter Seedballs – in fact, there are a number of advantages to getting out in the garden this time of year.

In early autumn, the soil is still warm after the summer, and the extra moisture in the air during the autumn and winter months can in fact aid germination.

Poppies, among other wild flower seeds, actually require a cold period before germination – meaning that sowing them in autumn will give them a head start when it comes to flowering next spring.

Although spending time over the garden may be less appealing than in warmer climes, autumn can still be an appealing time to work outside, with its soft light and calmer atmosphere.

The autumn months usually mean less watering too, as rainfall increases — seed balls are already a low maintenance way to garden, autumn makes them even more so, as the change in weather decreases the need to water the ground where seed balls are scattered.

Things to consider when sowing an autumn wild flower patch

Although leaves break down to release nutrients into the soil, wild flowers are known to do better in poorer soils.

A top tip is to gather fallen leaves before seed scattering; and collect up those which have fallen subsequently – before they get chance to decay – stashing them so that when they break down the resulting leaf mould can be spread on your vegetable patch.

Once the ground is clear; now is also a great time to think about sowing bee-friendly plants and flowers that will also attract butterflies in the spring, too.

Scattering a seed mix like Seedball’s Bee Mix will attract solitary bees, honey bees and bumblebees. Each seed ball contains approximately 30 seeds from a mix of bee-friendly plants recommended by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust; such as Birdsfoot Trefoil, Foxglove, Red Clover, Viper’s Bugloss and Wild Marjoram.

They’ve also added pollinator-friendly annuals such as Chamomile, Cornflower, Corn marigold, and Night-flowering catchfly — which are found in their Butterfly mix, too.

The Seedball Butterfly Mix is a mix of native wildflowers — mostly purple, pink and blue flowers — designed to attract butterflies to our gardens, balconies and window boxes.

Each seed ball contains approximately 30 seeds from a mix of flowers recommended by Butterfly Conservation: Purple Loosestrife, Forget-me-not, Musk mallow, Red campion and Yarrow.

Win! Autumn Seedball bundle: Attract garden birds, bats, beetles, bees and butterflies

I’ve teamed up with Seedball to offer one lucky winner the chance to win this bundle of Seedball wildlife-themed mixes worth £42 — perfect for bringing wildlife into your garden.

Prize Bundle includes…

  • 1 x Bat Mix wildflower tin
  • 1 x Beetle Mix wildflower tin
  • 1 x Bird Mix wildflower tin
  • 1 x Bee Mix bag containing 100 seed balls
  • 1 x Butterfly Mix bag containing 100 seed balls

TO ENTER: If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, tell us why you’d love this prize. Leave your answer in the comments below by 23rd September 2020.

One lucky winner will be chosen to win this prize bundle, and notified on 24th September 2020. Competition open to UK Residents only. Good luck!

For more information Seedball and their mission to help increase biodiversity in our gardens, head to: seedball.co.uk/

Enjoyed this post? Read about the creation of my lockdown garden this spring.

kate on conservation wildlife blog logo

19 thoughts on “The Best Ways To Bring Pollinators To Your Garden

  1. I have recently moved to a new build which has a very bare garden and the area is still missing much encouragement for wildlife. I would love to do my bit and create a wildlife friendly garden for them.

  2. I would love to win this because eventhough we get lots of wildlife in the garden, it would be great for it to be more diverse

  3. I’d love to have these seed balls to add to the Ox eye daisies that grow in the wild patch at the bottom of my garden

  4. I love growing plants in my garden to attract all wildlife and would love to give these a try and see if more wildlife visits as a result.

  5. I’m currently running a blog on the wildlife I find in my garden to help encourage others to learn about and support their local wildlife. I would like to be able to support more wildlife in my garden and show others the benefits of growing wildflowers.

  6. I’d love to win this as we’ve just managed to rent a piece of land (for a peppercorn rent) and my aim is to grow veg in some parts, and then sow round my paths with wildflowers and bulbs and then make a pond and wild area at the other end. We have a resident hedgehog and there are bats which live nearby and I’ve managed to attract lots of bees this year so would like to keep going

    1. We are moving house soon and our new garden isn’t yet very wildlife friendly (lots of decking and gravel…). We have our work cut out and this would get is off to a really good start, so I’d love to win.

  7. I’d love to win this prize. Moved houses in May, and counties for that matter and trying to get as much wildlife in my garden as I can..for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of me and my family

  8. What a lovely prize! We’ve got a larger than average front lawn which my 10 year old daughter would love to turn into a wildflower meadow. We tried earlier in the year but it was too dry during lockdown. This would be a prize she’d absolutely love and make real use of. Thanks for your fantastic blog Kate. Wild wishes for a great week!

  9. I have made the conscious choice to create the best possible environment in my garden for wildlife. It has been a long process, but it is paying off We’ve had our first hedgehogs moving in this spring. I still have some work to do to increase the amount of wild flowers to attract more pollinators. Winning this would certainly help me get there.

  10. I would love this for my daughter, she has really enjoyed the spring and summer watching the moths and butterflies hatching from catterpillars. She is becoming really into her wildlife and is trying to make our garden more friendly for the insects and animals.

  11. During lockdown I have spent so much time appreciating my garden and trying to make it more wildlife friendly by creating wildlife areas, a bug hotel, feeding the birds, creating a hedgehog house, as well as trying to plant seeds that will attract butterflies and bees. I am so looking forward to having a wilder garden next year that attracts all kinds of wildlife, so these wonderful seedballs would be great to help create that inviting environment for a wide diversity of wildlife.

  12. I have been busy in my garden all of summer ensuring that there are plants, water stations and bee and bug boxes for my garden visitors. However, now that it is coming to autum/winter I am begining to worry that my garden will no longer be suitable for these little creatures until next next. I want to ensure that I can carry on proving a home for as many bees and bugs as possible all year round and these seed balls feel like the answer🐝🐞🦋

  13. I would love this prize for planting our community sensory garden. We use a communal space to create an accessible garden full of exciting things to touch and smell and a therapeutic place for people to recuperate. Wildlife-friendly plants would be a great addition.

    1. Congratulations Emma! You’ve been selected as our Seedball competition winner! I’ve sent you an email directly to organise claiming your prize! 🙂

  14. I would love to win this prize so I can teach my niece all about how these seeds help the pollinators and creatures. We can create a little wildflower patch for her to check on.

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