Make a metre for pollinators: Alan Titchmarsh's top tips for Butterfly Conservation

Alan Titchmarsh is calling on gardeners to make a metre for wildlife this summer by providing a refuge for struggling butterflies, moths and other pollinators.

He has launched Butterfly Conservation's ‘Plots for Pollinators’ campaign. The project encourages people to set aside one square metre of their garden or outdoor space to plant a nectar-rich flowerbed, or a colourful container garden.

Alan said: “The future of our butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects is under threat, as the places where they live are disappearing."

His tips on creating plots for pollinators are:

• Measure out one square metre of outdoor space as a plot of pollinators and fill it with open-flowered, nectar-rich plants. Choose a sunny, sheltered position and group pots together on a patio, grow plants up a fence or wall, or commit an area of a flowerbed.

• Water your plot regularly - ideally from a water butt as this is more environmentally friendly. Frequent watering prevents plants from drying out during a spell of hot weather, especially when in containers, and helps flowers to produce more nectar.

• Remember to water the soil not the plant, as larger leaves can act as an umbrella which prevents water getting to the roots. Remove the rose from your watering can to get nearer the plant base if necessary.

• Put a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil around the plants to help prevent water evaporation and suppress weed growth.

• Always choose peat-free compost and cut down on your use of plastic. Use recyclable and recycled containers or be creative and turn tins and tubs into plant pots. Remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom to prevent waterlogging.

• Dead-heading after flowering keeps plants looking attractive and encourages more blooms.

• Inspire your neighbours to plant a plot for pollinators to create a flowery super highway for the pollinating insects where you live.

• Avoid using harmful pesticides by removing slugs and snails by hand instead. Night is the best time to catch these marauding molluscs in action. Once caught, release them at a safe distance from your plot.