First paper is published!

The much-anticipated results from the Plants for Bugs project are now in, with the first paper focusing on pollinating insects published today

The Plants for Bugs team are happy to announce the publication of their paper; Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species? Journal of Applied Ecology.*

So what are the key messages gardeners should take from this first paper on pollinating insects? We've narrowed it down to three:

1. The best strategy for gardeners wanting to support pollinating insects in gardens is to plant a mix of flowering plants from different countries and regions.

2. Emphasis should be given to plants native to the UK and the northern hemisphere, though exotic plants from the southern hemisphere can be used to extend the season (there are a greater proportion of exotic plants flowering later in the season compared to UK native and northern hemisphere plants) and provide nectar and pollen for some specific pollinators.

3. 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.

Read more on our Plants for Bugs webpage.

After a two year set up, a four year sampling phase and an 18 month analysis, write up and submission period, the announcement of the publication of the first paper is a big deal to all those involved with the project. A huge thanks to everyone who has been involved, including the Wildlife Gardening Forum whose inspiration and support got the idea off the ground, and to the dedicated volunteers who have put in hours of plot care and help with sampling over the years.

*Salisbury, A., Armitage, J., Bostock, H., Perry, J., Tatchell, M., Thompson, K. (2015). Enhancing gardens as habitats for flower-visiting aerial insects (pollinators): should we plant native or exotic species? Journal of Applied Ecology JPE 12499.

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for the site or to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.

  • Mr G Rice

    By Mr G Rice on 14/08/2015

    I'm so pleased that, finally, some thorough impartial research has been done on this topic so that we can now rely on scientific evidence instead of the debate being dominated by opinion, prejudice and conjecture. Today I've blogged about this over on my Plant Talk blog for Mr Fothergill's Seeds ( and will also be discussing this soon on my Transatlantic Gardener blog (

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