Monthly Archives: August 2014

5 star insect hotels

Pests are the bane of many gardeners’ lives but rather than resort to chemical sprays it’s a much better idea to attract beneficial creatures into your space to feed on the less desirable beasts. A great way of doing this is to install an insect house – the nooks and crannies within these structures will entice a wide range of pest-eating bugs looking for somewhere to hide or a place to hibernate this autumn. Although you can buy all sorts of off-the-shelf bug boxes from garden centres, it’s really easy to create your own unique design from recycled materials.

Insect tower in The Future Nature Garden, Sponsored by Yorkshire Water, University of Sheffield Alumni Fund, Green City Initiative, Buro Happold - RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009 - © Richard Bloom/GAP Photos

Insect tower in The Future Nature Garden, Sponsored by Yorkshire Water, University of Sheffield Alumni Fund, Green City Initiative, Buro Happold – RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009 – © Richard Bloom/GAP Photos

Boxing clever
A series of rectangular boxes mounted at angles on a vertical post results in a sculptural structure that boast the kind of looks that would perfectly suit a contemporary garden.

Bug hotel made from bricks and bamboo - © Lee Avison/GAP Photos

Bug hotel made from bricks and bamboo – © Lee Avison/GAP Photos

Brick by brick
Arranging a few old bricks on top of each other makes a simple insect house within minutes. The voids in each layer can be filled with old stems, twigs and other prunings collected from the garden.

Insect hotel - © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

Insect hotel – © Friedrich Strauss/GAP Photos

High-rise living
Flying insects prefer to hibernate above ground level. Put boxes in a north facing spot so inhabitants aren’t woken up early in the year, when there are fewer pests around.

Insect hotel made from terracotta tiles and old broken pots - Pembury House  - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Insect hotel made from terracotta tiles and old broken pots – Pembury House – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

A good pallet
A pile of old wooden pallets makes a substantial insect house to attract a wide range of creatures. Small insects will hide in the upper layers, while large creatures can shelter underneath.

Insect habitat in mixed border with Rudbeckia and Penstemon - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Insect habitat in mixed border with Rudbeckia and Penstemon – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Pride of place
There’s no need to conceal an insect house if possess good looks. Treat it as a garden ornament, placing it within a border surrounded by nectar-rich plants to attract pollinating insects.

Water wonderland

A garden isn’t complete without water. Ponds, pools, fountains, rills, spouts and any other kind of water feature will transform a bland space into the ultimate oasis. How? They will add movement, sound and can help transport the eye from one part of the garden to another – as such they can be used as connecting devices for garden ‘rooms’. Larger features will attract wildlife and allow you to grow an exciting range of aquatic plants. There are lots of different options available to suit every size and style of garden; here are some but for a greater inspiration, take a look at our comprehensive range of images.

A meandering canal through flagstone paving, background of shrubs, old trees and a dry stone wall - © Christa Brand/GAP Photos

A meandering canal through flagstone paving, background of shrubs, old trees and a dry stone wall – © Christa Brand/GAP Photos

The rill thing
A rill is a classic narrow canal that will physically and visually link different parts of the garden together, and can be used to add interest to an otherwise bland sea of paving slabs.

Modern water feature - © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Modern water feature – © Elke Borkowski/GAP Photos

Spouting on
It can be easy to forget about your vertical space, but a wall mounted spout is a stylish water feature that can be adapted to suit any style of garden.

Modern contemporary garden in Brighton with square metal water feature on decking with wooden panel walls and orange panel - © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

Modern contemporary garden in Brighton with square metal water feature on decking with wooden panel walls and orange panel – © Clive Nichols/GAP Photos

On reflection…
The perfectly still body of water inside this metal cube has the reflective qualities of a mirror, and is an elegant way to add water in a contemporary space.

Water feature with three rills and pebbles - © Marcus Harper/GAP Photos

Water feature with three rills and pebbles – © Marcus Harper/GAP Photos

Go with the flow
Water gently flows over the edge of these three highly polished metal water spouts into a bed of gleaming pebbles set beneath a low brick wall. Utterly simple, utterly effective.

Water feature in the 'Hae-woo-so (Emptying One's Mind)' garden - Best Artisan Garden, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 - © Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

Water feature in the ‘Hae-woo-so (Emptying One’s Mind)’ garden – Best Artisan Garden, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011 – © Pernilla Bergdahl/GAP Photos

Time to relax
The gentle trickle of slow moving water from a spout into a shallow pool provides a relaxing sound that will help you unwind in the garden after a hard day.

Beautiful roses

Few plants divide gardeners as roses. To some they embody old-time glamour, while others consider them passé and a martyr to pests and diseases. It wasn’t always like this. Roses have been grown in this country for centuries and up until the 1970s, few would have taken a swipe at them. In fact, it was almost impossible to walk along a suburban street and not spot a hybrid tea or two in a front garden. However, an influx of varieties that submitted easily to black spot, aphids and rust, saw their popularity nose dive.

Fortunately, most of the notorious sickly varieties are no longer available, leaving lots of fantastic old roses with heavily scented, blowsy blooms, and modern disease resistant varieties that are equally well worth growing. There’s no doubt that they’re now back in vogue and shrub, climbing, rambling roses, along with all the other types are taking their place in gardens once again. Avoid planting bushes cheek-by-jowl in formal beds. That look belongs in the past. Surround them with flowering perennials or dot them among panicum, calamagrostis, Stipa tenuissima or other ornamental grasses, for a thoroughly contemporary display.