Top Six Plants for attracting Insects to your Garden

We’re told time and time again how important our gardens are in keeping the country green and that our plots are a mecca for pollinating insects.  The trick is to provide a wide variety of flowering plants as they are often designed with particular insects in mind. Taking this into account here are my Top Six Plants to attract insects into your garden:

Harvest Daisy (Inula) – typically we want to be planting simple flower shapes, and this Harvest Daisy provides that. Simple Daisy shapes that don’t have a double set of petals are easier for pollinators to access and their wide-open shape makes it easier for insects to use as a landing pad.


Lenten Rose (Hellebore) – these flower from Winter to early Spring so provide nectar and pollen early in the year. Choose the single flowering versions to best attract pollinators and enjoy their beautiful flowers at a gloomy time of year.


Ivy (Hedera) – we’re encouraged to keep a corner of the garden untidy as this provides a great habitat for insects and wildlife to use as home! Ivy is a great plant to leave or plant in such an area as it provides a safe haven of nooks and crannies for wildlife to live in and its flowers over the Wintertime provide nectar and pollen at a time when there’s not a lot around!



Lavender – the quintessential British Garden Shrub, Lavender is a great plant for insects and especially Bees. They love its nectar and pollen and it flowers for a long period over the Summer.



Crabapple (Malus)– a small Crabapple tree is a brilliant garden tree but not only for us! It provides beautiful Spring Blossom and Autumn Fruits which we enjoy but also the wildlife in your garden.


Ice Plant (Hylotelephium spectabile) – This succulent looking perennial flowers for ages from Summer onwards. This means there is nectar and pollen available for a long period but also it looks great if you leave the flowerheads on over Winter and therefore provides seed and shelter for birds and insects.



General planting tips for attracting insects into your garden are:

  • Avoid the use of chemical weed killer and pesticides
  • Plant a wide variety of colours, scents and shapes of plants
  • Plant a variety of plants that flower all year round
  • Avoid plants with double or multi layers of petals

For more information The RHS do a great guide to Plants for Pollinators and you can find their campaign logo on plants they recommend for insects at Garden Centres across the country.

Have you got a favourite insect-friendly plant?  Let me know in the comments below. Or if you want help to make planting choices for your garden drop me a line.



Flowers to make you change your mind about yellow!

Early Spring seems to be the season of yellow: Daffodils, Winter Aconites, Primroses, Crocosus but lots of people have a thing against yellow flowers in their gardens, and I have to admit I was one of them!  I’m not sure why it is, perhaps yellow was unfashionable, a bi too ‘in your face’.  But  I think I was won over to yellow by orange!  It took me to yellow and I have started to love it now, especially with orange!!  Yellow also looks great with reds and blues and really zings infront of dark foliage or even a black fence!  Here are a few flowers that might win you over to yellow!

Primroses – Quite a delicate shade of yellow to get you started!  These hedgerow favourites are a great source of colour during Winter right through to Spring.  They selfseed really easily and so will multiply for you.  I love them planted in my gravel path, so they have a really natural look and once SApring is here you can transplant them to where you want so is the time of year to ask if you can have a couple from any rfiends with them in their garden!

Inula This was a gift from a lady I gardened for.  Her garden was on the North Downs so very chalky and alkaline, I’m on very sandy soil which is rather neutral in acidity and most of my garden is quite shady.  These Inulas seem to love both conditions and from a couple of bits I dug up they have now formed a patch which flower from Summer through to Autumn.

Mexican Satin Flower (Sisyrinchium striatum) – This perennial forms clumps of vertical sword-like leaves and in the summer straight stems shoot up with clusters of the tiniest pale yellow flowers.  It loves being in the sun on really well drained soil and is so delicate and gorgeous.

Rosa banksia ‘Lutea’ – A beautiful rambling rose with sprays of small double, deep yellow scented flowers in April and May. Pros: its thornless and great for covering an arch or pergola. Cons: it only flowers once!

Lupin ‘Chandelier’ – Lupins were all the rage last year at the Flower Shows and they come in a wide range of colours; some bright and gaudy but some a bit more toned down and pastelly.  I love this yellow Lupin with its geometric spire of flowers.  They like it sunny and look great in a border of other plants, and remember to deadhead once its looking scruffy as it may well flower again for you.

I hope that gives you some ideas, I’m almost certain that yellow makes us feel good, it does bring a smile, so have a go at injecting some sunshine into your garden!  Have a look at my board The Yellow Planting Edit on Pinterest for more inspiration.



Making your own Secret Garden

I’m very excited!  They are remaking ‘The Secret Garden’ which is 1 of my very favourite books.  Its not to be mixed up with ‘Secret Garden‘ which is being released this year and which is about an entirely different topic!!  Its going to star Colin Firth and Julie Waters and I can’t wait to find out where they are filming it!

It got me thinking about our own gardens and how sometimes we want some secret space from the family but also private space from our neighbours.  So what makes up a Secret Garden:

  • Paths – that twist or turn or that has planting either side to create a path that runs through greenery.  What you don’t want is to see where the path goes.  You want it to draw you in to find out where it goes.
  • A destination – the path needs to take you somewhere – it could be to a seating area, a focal point or to the shed!  But the point is you can’t see the destination when you start out!
  • A canopy to cover and create a ‘room’.  This could be created with trees providing a natural canopy of leaves or it could be made by an arbour or pergola covered in climbers.
  • A garden gate – nothing more secret than to have to open a gate to go through to the next space.  It could be a wrought iron gate you can see through, or a panelled wooden one you have to open to see through!
  • Exuberant planting – that gives you a glimpse through to what is beyond.  Think of height and movement; to screen the background and colour and scent to stop you on your way.
  • Light and dark – there might be distinct areas so that you pass from shady paths into a sunny courtyard, but the light and temperature change ensures that all your senses feel the change as you explore further.
  • Organised chaos – for me a secret garden is a bit unkempt!  A bit overgrown and mossy at the edges!
  • Lights – the fabulous fairy lights that are available now are just the thing to be strung up in the trees, shrubs and canopy to let you use your secret garden in the evening when the fairies come out to play!!!

I’ve collated some images of Secret Gardens on Pinterest for inspiration!

Share your secret garden with me in the comments!







Ideas we can take from RHS Chelsea 2018

So having caught up with all the coverage from Chelsea here are my thoughts on what we can take away from the Show to use in our gardens:

Yellow seems to have been a really popular accent colour with yellow Globeflowers (Troillus), Ladies Bonnets (Aquilegia), Woad, Hot Pokers (Kniphofia) and Lupins appearing in lots of the show gardens. And we’re not talking pastel Yellow here we’re talking bold and dramatic hues of Yellow bringing sparks of brightness to the foliage. All of these plants can be used in our gardens and I would add Sneezeweed (Helenium) and Aunt May (Sisyrinchium striatum) (pictured) to the Yellow Hit List!

Plants with vertical spires of flowers also seemed to crop up all over the place with Foxgloves (Digitalis), Mullein (Verbascum), Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus robustus) and especially Lupins making bold statements throughout the show gardens. We can definitely use these in our gardens, I would clump then together in odd numbers to make more impact and add Turkish Sage (Phlomis russeliana) and Bears Breeches (Acanthus mollis) to a list of high performing Flower Spires!

Corten Steel – we seem to have fallen in love with the coppery tones of corten steel and its been used in lots of differentways: planters, pots, water bowls, edging and pergolas. It’s definitely a modern material that we can use our gardens that melds with other materials and styles, whether traditional or more modern and is easy on the eye in its simplicity and sleekness. I especially like these Light Fittings by Nordlux at Wayfair.

So yes they are Show Gardens that sometimes cost more than my house is worth but I very much see them as the Couture Shows in fashion; they’re exciting and innovative and always provide inspiration for even the smallest of spaces!