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.



What’s a Hoedown?

Clue: it’s not a gathering involving shouting catchy phrases like “yee-haw”!  A Hoedown is what I called my Garden Consultation Service, purely because ‘Garden Consultation’ sounds so boring! If you want to yell “yee-haw” at the end I’ll be more than pleased!

It’s usually an hour (but can be more) spent standing in your garden with you talking through anything garden related!  Someone called it Garden Therapy as they were feeling so stressed and overwhelmed by their garden and not enjoying it all!  Others have found it really helpful at different times:  perhaps you’ve recently moved in, about to put your house on the market or have just built an extension and now can see your garden more.  In the past I’ve covered:

  • Identifying what plants are what
  • What to prune and when
  • How to prune
  • What to do after an extension has been built or after a garage has been pulled down
  • How to make fences and walls look better
  • What shape borders or beds to make
  • Ideas on what plants to use in different places
  • Lawn care
  • What materials would work in a small courtyard
  • What plants wouldn’t mind living in pots
  • Making decisions about taking out shrubs or moving them
  • Where it’s best to put waterbutts and raised beds for veggies
  • Pests and diseases
  • What’s a weed
  • Where to put the trampoline!

My objective pair of eyes and ears can be really helpful to solve problems, be a sounding board or come up with ideas.  After our hour I write up our discussion including any links I’ve promised and email it to you so you have a record of our discussion and signposted places to go to to take action (or delegate the actions!).

Here’s what Claire had to say following our Hoedown:

“I spent a lovely hour in my back garden with Renée having a Hoedown.  She is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I feel very inspired now and, most importantly, confident that I can change my garden to suit my family.  Renée listened to what I hoped to achieve and asked all the right questions.  I can’t wait to get started and thanks to Renée’s follow-up email with links and reminders of what we talked about it didn’t matter that I forgot most of the plant names we talked about! Thank you.”

The cost of a Hoedown is 1 hour of your time, 1 cup of tea for me and £75 (Monday to Friday) or £95 (weekends and evenings) within 5 miles radius of Redhill.  I’m more than happy to travel further afield but will need to agree additional expenses to cover mileage.

If you need that objective pair of eyes, please do just get in touch at

What would you want us to spend our hour discussing?  Let me know in the comments below!



Seeds to Sow in May for easy Summer Colour

The seeds of Annuals can be bought in the supermarket, garden centre or high street homeware store for a couple of pounds a packet and they literally can provide hundreds of colourful flowers in just 1 packet!  Buy in May to sow outside straight away.  You’ll need to read the back of the packet to make sure you have the right ones but they include:

  • Love-In-A-Mist
  • Pot Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Poppy
  • Zinnia

Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in 1 year.  Summer annuals grown from seed will produce flowers within 6-8 weeks of sowing, flower all summer and then the plant will usually die with the first frosts in the Autumn.  They are a great gap filler between shrubs and perennials; working really hard for you during the Summer putting on a great display.  They then do you a great favour!  Once the flowers fade they set seed which drops to the soil creating plants and flowers for you again next year!

It’s all in the preparation . . .

  1. Weed the area that you are going to sow to taking out anything you don’t want however big or small (it might not be that easy to weed for a few weeks as all seedling tend to lo the same!)
  2. If your soil is quite dry water it now so you don’t wash away the seeds when watering after sowing.
  3. Then rake over the area to break up the soil particles and give you a level area
  4. If you’re sowing several different types of seed, consider mixing them up to sow a random selection. Look at the expected heights to help you gauge.  I tend to mix two blends according to height and sow the taller plants at the back of the border and the smaller plants towards the front.

There are 2 different sowing techniques:

  • 1 is very random: you liberally sprinkle the seeds over your area with your fingers. Once sown gently rake the soil again to cover up the seeds.  It will be hard to distinguish your seedlings from weeds when they grow so this may not suit everyone!
  • 2 is more controlled: draw a line in the soil with your finger or a bamboo cane and sprinkle the seed along the groove you have made. This could be a straight line or a curved one.  Rake the soil back over the groove when sown.  When the seedlings appear you will see the line and know they are plants as opposed to weeds!

If it doesn’t rain you will need to water your seedlings in the coming weeks.  They should poke their heads out of the ground within a couple of weeks – if they are bunched up together in places thin them out by snipping the emerging stems off with scissors.  This gives the others more room to grow and doesn’t disturb their root growth.

You should see plants and flowers in 6- 8 weeks after sowing.  Deadhead the flowers with scissors or by pinching them off with your fingers throughout the summer to encourage the plant to flower some more.  Leave the flowers in place as we get to September though so you get your free seeds for next year!

Just have a go – it’s dead easy and kids love sowing seeds too and they also love seeing all the different sizes and shapes of seeds.  You can see a video of me showing the 2 sowing techniques here: