poppies from MShades -- http://flickr.com/photos/mshades/467044408/

In the last newsletter, we touched on companion planting. This can be a very beneficial approach to natural gardening, in terms of both pest control, and in helping pollination.

The common marigold (Tagetes patula) and Meadow Foam (Limanthes dougasii), also known as ‘poached-egg flower’ are perfect habitats for ladybirds and lacewings, which are natural devourers of aphids, etc. Similarly, Californian Poppy (Eschscholzia), fennel and alliums also attract beneficial predators.

A wonderful addition this summer is Hilliers Nurseries selling larvae of both ladybirds and lacewings which you can release on your plot. The nearest Hillier garden centre is in Sunningdale, just off junction 3 of the M3, or you can phone them on 01344 623 166.

The carrot fly can also be a pest but interplanting double rows of onions between each row of carrots can help to deter them, as Sue O’Callaghan has proven (see Top tips).