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Spring is the perfect time to be growing plants, shrubs, and flowers in your garden. But your shoots will be more likely to grow, and later reproduce, if you have insects flying around.
Expert gardeners at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have shared their tips on how to create an insect-friendly outdoor space.
Their first piece of advice is simple: grow a diverse range of plants in your garden, which will, in turn, attract a diverse range of insects.
Both buddleia, also known as the ‘butterfly bush’, and lavender are good butterfly attractors.
The plants provide a rich source of nectar and have a strong smell when they bloom.
Ladybirds, like butterflies, are not only pretty to look at in your garden, but they also keep populations of aphids under control.
Aphids are sap-sucking insects that can cause damage to your plants.
One of the easiest ways to attract ladybirds to your garden is to plant chives, dill, marigold, and yarrow.
Another tip that experts at Kew recommended is to create a log pile.
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Fallen leaves and log piles make great hiding spots for insects like worms, woodlice, millipedes, and centipedes.
Leaves and logs can attract other wildlife too, such as hedgehogs.
You can also let an area of your garden grow wild, leaving twigs, stones, and leaves on the ground to turn into a comfortable habitat for insects and wildlife.
Creating a compost heap in your garden is another way to attract insects, and it is also good for your soil and plants.
The next tip is a little more time-consuming, but can be done easily enough if you learn how or hire a gardener or landscaper to do it for you: build a pond.
Ponds are incredible habitats for dragonflies, damselflies, water beetles, and more.
The water is also a great drinking source for wildlife such as foxes, hedgehogs, and birds.
If you want to save yourself the trouble of building a large pond, or you don’t have enough space in your garden, you could simply use a large pot or an upturned dustbin lid as a mini pond.
Another way to attract insects to your garden is to nurture your hedges.
Butterflies like to lay their eggs in hedges, and some may depend on specific plants commonly found in hedgerows.
These plants include hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, and hazel.
Hedges also act like wildlife corridors, making it safe for hedgehogs to move from one place to the next.
Additionally, they are great nesting sites for some birds.
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