Bumble Bee

Right Bug, Right Plant, Right Place

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015


The RHS release findings on the benefits of native/non-native planting mix for pollinating insects

The Plants for Bugs project has recently released findings from a four-year field study, undertaken by the RHS Science Department at RHS Garden Wisley and supported and inspired by the Wildlife Gardening Forum.

The study was the first ever field experiment designed to test whether the geographical origin or ‘nativeness’ of garden plants affects the abundance and diversity of invertebrates they support.

The report found that the best strategy for creating a habitat for pollinating insects in a garden setting is to plant a mix of flowering plants from different countries and regions. Regardless of plant origin (native or non-native) the more flowers a garden can offer throughout the year, the greater the number of bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects it will attract and support.

The Ecology Consultancy’s team of ecologists have professional horticultural and landscape backgrounds and work closely with Landscape Architects and Design Teams to achieve a native and non-native planting mix. We will also advise on the risk involved in the use of potentially invasive plant species and those listed as ‘invasive plants’ on the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This brings added value to projects requiring ecological input into landscape design, and where our clients are trying to maximise the wildlife value of a planting scheme.

As part of our Design Team role we balance the use of native and non-native plants according to the requirements of each project, the species and the habitat types involved. We always try to maximise the number of plants of documented wildlife value and use scientific research to support this process. Having a solid evidence base for mitigation and/or enhancement is fundamental to the success of our work, and particularly important when creating habitats for rare or notable invertebrates and when undertaking BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes Assessments.

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