Alan Titchmarsh's Top Tips

Alan Titchmarsh"You can provide for pollinators even if you don’t have a garden. Just a few plant pots can provide a useful pit stop, allowing butterflies and moths to fly through built-up areas and into more suitable habitat. See if you can find just one square metre that you don’t need for hanging washing, exercising the dog or hosting barbecues and transform it for butterflies and moths. Everyone can create a Plot for Pollinators." Alan Titchmarsh, Butterfly Conservation Vice-president.

  • Measure out one square metre of outdoor space as a plot of pollinators and fill it with open-flowered, nectar-rich plants. Choose a sunny, sheltered position and group pots together on a patio, grow plants up a fence or wall, or commit an area of a flowerbed.
  • Water your plot regularly - ideally from a water butt as this is more environmentally friendly. Frequent watering prevents plants from drying out during a spell of hot weather, especially when in containers, and helps flowers to produce more nectar.
  • Remember to water the soil not the plant, as larger leaves can act as an umbrella which prevents water getting to the roots. Remove the rose from your watering can to get nearer the plant base if necessary.
  • Put a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil around the plants to help prevent water evaporation and suppress weed growth.
  • Always choose peat-free compost and cut down on your use of plastic. Use recyclable and recycled containers or be creative and turn tins and tubs into plant pots. Remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
  • Choose plants that originate from the UK to reduce the carbon footprint of your garden and eliminate the risk of disease. Imported plants may carry non-native pests or diseases that could contaminate your garden and spread to your neighbours.
  • Dead-heading after flowering keeps plants looking attractive and encourages more blooms.
  • Inspire your neighbours to plant a plot for pollinators to create a flowery super highway for the pollinating insects where you live.
  • Avoid using harmful pesticides by removing slugs and snails by hand instead. Night is the best time to catch these marauding molluscs in action. Once caught, release them at a safe distance from your plot.