|The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) has nectar-rich flowers|
Nonetheless, there are still flowers to be found, some even providing much needed nectar for winter active pollinators. The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) and winter-flowering Mahonia (Mahonia x media) are both flowering in winter and produce enough nectar to help winter active bumblebees sustain their colonies.
|Mahonia x media flowering in winter|
|Mahonia flowers have a wonderful scent|
|Winter active Bombus terrestris enjoying Mahonia flowers|
|Flies are also visiting the Mahonia flowers|
In late winter the first snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are peeking through the snow which is always a delight to see. They do not depend on insect pollination and mainly spread by bulb division.
|Snowdrops can push trough frozen soil with hardened leaf tips|
Some autumn-flowering plants can flower right until December and look beautiful on frosty days even if they are of not much use anymore for pollinators.
|A frosted rose flower|
|Michaelmas daisies (Aster sp.) in the early morning sunshine|
|Penstemon flowers after a frosty night|
|Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)|
Even after the flowering is finished, the seed heads of some flowers look very attractive and can be an interesting feature in the winter garden. The seeds of many plants can provide a natural food source for birds and insects like to overwinter in the hollow stems. So when you tidy up your garden in autumn please do not cut dead stems and seed heads, as they can still be of value to wildlife and your garden will look much more interesting.
|Hogweed (Heracleum sp.) seed heads on a frosty morning|
|Frosted teasel (Dipsacus sp.) seed head|
|Phlomis seed heads left uncut are an attractive sight|
|Seed heads of rudbeckia|