Garden Friends & Foes

Our gardens are home to a whole host of insects, bugs and creepy crawlies. Many play an important part in our local eco-system and are beneficial for creating a healthy and thriving garden environment. Meanwhile others are not so friendly and can harm a gardener’s best efforts to grow plants. But how do you encourage the ‘good’ bugs while keeping the more harmful creatures at bay?

The first step is to throw away your chemical-laden pesticides and insect killers. While, these will be efficient at dealing with pests, they are often indiscriminate and will also kill those beneficial creatures that you want to encourage into your garden. So rather than trying to eradicate a particular species, take a more holistic approach and look at your garden as a whole while choosing natural and organic methods for dealing with pests.

Let’s take a look at some common garden visitors and how you can encourage or discourage them from visiting your gardens.


Beautiful to look at, a ladybird is a lovely insect to spot in the garden. And the good news is it is a great friend to gardeners too. Feasting on aphids and other insects, ladybirds help to protect your plants from pests. As well as eating insects, it loves to dine on pollen, so ensuring that your garden has plenty of pollen sources will help attract ladybirds. Caraway, chives, marigold and yarrow are all good choices for encouraging ladybirds into your garden.

Slugs and Snails

No explanation is needed here. Slugs and snails are one of gardeners’ biggest foes. But before you reach for the slug killer, think about how the chemicals could impact the overall health of your garden. There are a number of natural ways to deal with slugs and snails that won’t be harmful to your garden. From beer traps to coffee grounds, take a look online for hundreds of different ideas for dealing with these garden pests naturally.


You might not like them buzzing around when you’re trying to enjoy a picnic but as a pollinating insect, bees are one of the most important creatures to encourage into your garden. The whole world is dependent upon bees yet many species are in decline. You can help by making your garden bee-friendly. Avoid pesticides and plant a variety of plants rich in pollen and nectar. Bees also need water, so ensure you have a shallow source of water in your garden. And if you’re really interested in helping bees, you could consider introducing a beehive into your garden by getting in touch with a local beekeeping group.


Okay, they are not an insect or a creepy crawly but birds are an important visitor to your garden and can be both friend and foe. Birds are always on the lookout for food and will often eat seeds, seedlings or fruit from your garden. If you want to keep them away from particular plants, you can make your own bird-scarers or cover your crops with netting. But don’t be too quick to scare away the birds – they are a great asset in keeping pests such as slugs and snails at bay so you might want to encourage them into your garden.