The RHS 'Perfect for Pollinators' initiative, with its distinctive logo, has attracted a huge amount of interest. Garden centres across the country have seen an increase in demand for pollinator-friendly plants indicated by the logo. This new list has been produced to satisfy the growing interest in planting wild flowers in gardens and the growth in wild flower planting advice requests that the RHS Advisory Service receives from its members. The new wildflower list contains over 200 plants and breaks the list down to certain habitats that occur or can be created in gardens. Last year’s list of cultivated garden plants has also been extended and now includes more than 400 plants.
When selecting plants the charity advises planting schemes that have plants that will provide flowers throughout the seasons and to avoid plants that have double or multi-petal flowers as extra petals often replace the pollen-producing parts of the flower. Over the last 50 years certain insect groups such as butterflies and bees, have been in decline. This is due to a number of factors but part of the problem is the decline of wild flowers in the countryside. Gardens are being seen as an increasingly important habitat to help these declining groups of insects.
Jim Gardiner, RHS Director of Horticulture, points out that gardens are now increasingly recognised as important environments for maintaining biodiversity: "By planting a broad diversity of plants gardeners can do a lot to encourage pollinating insects which, in turn, will bring in other forms of wildlife into their gardens such as birds and hedgehogs," he explains.
The RHS gives advice on a number of ways that we can help insects. One important step is to consult the 'Perfect for Pollinators' lists and choose plants from these lists.
For further information log onto: www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Plants-for-pollinators - you can download the lists from the site.