Date: 1 May 2006
Originally published in: Period House (UK)
Written by: Kim Wilde
Celebrity gardener Kim Wilde loves the creatures she sees in her garden at this time of year.
There are several considerations when choosing plants for your garden such as soil, aspect and climate. But remember that a vast army of garden creatures are there to help keep your garden healthy in a natural way without having to resort to chemicals or pesticides. By choosing particular plants for them you can ensure that hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds, along with their hungry offspring, are drawn to your garden, ready to gobble up those unwanted sapsucking aphids (such as greenfly), thereby helping to keep your garden healthy and beautiful. Simple shaped flowers are generally more attractive to insects than ones packed with petals such as double-flowered varieties and even a number of roses. Hardy geraniums, with their simple saucer-shaped petals, are much easier for insects to access the stamens (for pollen), and the nectaries (which contain sweet nectar) to feed on.
Flowering in our garden now is the exquisite, though understated, geranium phaeum which habits a dry shady spot where it has self-seeded. Its dainty flowers reach 90cm high; an insect magnet at this time of year. Aquilegia have also self-seeded, their bell-shaped flowers are perfect for insects to crawl into. When choosing plants this year, spare a thought for our wildlife friends and provide nectar rich flowers for all four seasons, as well as plants like holly and ivy for shelter, berries for the birds and water, even if it is just a small birdbath.