Helen Bostock

Senior Horticultural Advisor

I am amazed by the number of different insects we have found living in our Plants for Bugs garden. Just shows how important even the smallest gardens are.

I’ve been at the RHS for nearly 14 years, counting the two years as a Wisley Trainee and 12 years in the Advisory Service, currently holding the position of Senior Horticultural Advisor. My passion is for wildlife gardening which has brought me great pleasure, not least through encounters with wildlife at our home near Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Red kites are regular visitors and we have the occasional slow worm, grass snake and even glow worm in the garden on a summer evening.

As Project Manager for the Plants for Bugs research project, I work closely with our science and curatorial teams, while my activities with the Wildlife Gardening Forum help me to share this enthusiasm with many people and organisations outside the RHS. Growing cut flowers, producing our own fruit and veg, keeping chickens and walking our dog Margot (a lively Irish Terrier) are all part of my life, shared with husband Adam who is a dab hand at putting up greenhouses and repairing sheds!

Helen's posts and conversations

  • Paper Two published and findings revealed

    The much-awaited second Plants for Bugs paper lifts the rug on bugs and shows a well-stocked bo

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  • Recording the flight of the bumblebee

    Richard Beason, soundscape ecology PhD student with the NERC DTP at Royal Holloway, gives us an

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  • Second paper submitted and out to review!

    Not just pretty faces: the team submits a second paper for peer review, this time looking at in

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  • Roberto introduces us to a changing world

    In this guest blog, University of York PhD student Roberto Padovani spills the beans on his new

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  • Goodbye volunteers, hello Roberto

    As the Plants for Bugs team says a fond farewell to its volunteers, new faces emerge on the

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  • Plants for Bugs presents...

    Members of the Plants for Bugs team share their work at the National Honey Show and Wildlife Ga

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  • London Bridge is...

    ...NOT falling down! In fact, a new Garden Bridge is about to be built across the Thames

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  • Plants for Bugs on TV

    The pollinator results have been a big hit with the press, making it onto BBC Gardeners

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  • First paper is published!

    The much-anticipated results from the Plants for Bugs project are now in, with the first paper

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  • Going wild for wildflowers

    It seems that gardeners and the public can't get enough of wildflower and naturalistic plan

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  • A grand planting day

    It may not be a Chelsea show garden but Plants for Bugs has been getting its very own make-over

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  • A plague of voles

    To those that have never seen one, voles are the short-eared, cuter version of a mouse. Despite

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  • New plants arrive in time for spring

    Have you been ordering plants for this year? We certainly have and the first of the orders have

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  • Making a good entrance

    Anyone with a mature garden or old house will know most of the work is about repairs and

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  • Ten steps to publishing a research paper in a peer-reviewed journal

    The Plants for Bugs team has recently submitted the first research paper from the four-year stu

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  • RHS Science gets a buzz from solar power

    The RHS Field Research Facility has finally got its solar panels installed successfully and is

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  • Wildflower enrichment

    After the summer buzz has died down, it's time to take stock on the meadow and do some more

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  • Red kites, frogs and a mystery butterfly

    I know a bird isn’t a bug but when it is the impressive red kite, I figure it deserves a

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  • Going wild about gardens

    After last year's success, we are again joining forces with The Wildlife Trusts for another

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  • Solar technology and stormy skies

    Both visitors and wildlife are undeterred by stormy weather at Plants for Bugs

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  • Bugs on Show

    The heat must have been getting to me at Hampton Court Flower Show last week – I was over

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  • Getting into the strim of things

    I’ve been putting it off for several weeks now but last Thursday I plucked up courage and

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  • Bacteria and slime hit Plants for Bugs

    Recent wet weather has led to an array of micro-organisms attacking the Plants for Bugs plots.

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  • Plants for Bugs Conference Previews Results

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  • Topping up

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  • Conference and quiz

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  • Wind in the pittosporums

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  • Fourth year of sampling comes to a close

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  • Over 80,000 invertebrates recorded

    Now at the end of the fourth year, the process of analysing the data collected from Plants for

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  • Proper frost

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  • Chequered out

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  • Gale damage repairs

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  • Wild About Gardens Week begins!

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  • Smile for the camera - Paul Debois photoshoot

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  • A very good year for crane flies

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  • Bugs in the sun

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  • The very hungry worm

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  • Silver-Washed Fritillary Butterflies seen on Plants for Bugs

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  • Tackling a jungle

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  • Helen at Hampton

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  • Banded damoiselle on wildflower

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  • Bye bye Sarah and hello handout

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  • New faces and first sightings of Green Hairstreaks

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  • Bacterial infection confirmed

    A new disease hits viburnums at RHS Garden Wisley

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  • Poorly viburnum

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  • beetlemania

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  • Pointy tubers and hairy bulbs

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  • Making every bug count

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  • Easter bugs

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  • Charlie's Angels (in disguise)

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  • Stand back - creepy crawlies coming through

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  • Kiwi wonders

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  • We return

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  • Christmas cheer

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  • Brrrraving the cold

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  • RHS Science Committee feedback sought

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  • Last of the colour

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  • Stripes are in

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  • The last straw

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  • Reflecting on life

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  • Sarah shares her skills

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  • Feeling all doddery

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  • Feeding frenzy

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  • Visitors galore

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  • Is it a bird?

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  • Naughty Nibblers

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  • Flowers at last

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  • Hot work and old friends

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  • Honeybee hitchhiker

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  • Weeding among the wildflowers

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  • New plants supports

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  • Nectar sampling on the plots

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  • It's all crickety boo

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  • Gap-filling exercises on Plants for Bugs

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  • Weed war

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  • Bellamy blesses Bugs

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  • We get sowing

    It may be cold outside but we're sowing the seeds of summer

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  • Read your March issue

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  • Wildflower neighbours

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  • Biopsy on Plants for Bugs

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  • Spot the spots

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  • Monster tamed

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  • Spiders and springtails

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  • Bark mountain

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  • Reaping rewards at Rothy

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  • A winter head count

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  • January going on June

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  • If there has been no visible evidence of growth (not just of treatment) for two consecu

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  • Hey, thanks Gareth. This late sunshine has certainly been enjoyed by all our visiting bugs

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