The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

COMPANION

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PLANTS

Lucy Hart explains how she uses companion planting in the walled garden:

The common marigold (Calendula officinali­s) and its cultivars are host to a useful predator of white fly – Macrolophu­s pygmaeus – as well as attracting other beneficial insects such as ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings (all these feed on aphids). •

Marigolds also have a strong aroma which confuses and repels pests. I love marigold ‘Fantasia Mix’ for the range of colours.

We plant nasturtium­s alongside our beans, as a sacrificia­l crop. The nasturtium­s lure aphids away from the beans and other favourite crops that you want to save.

Poached egg plant (Limonanthe­s douglasii), is a favourite of mine because it looks just like a poached egg and attracts useful pollinator­s.

I also grow borage, cosmos and catmint – they are all great plants for pollinatin­g insects.

To try and protect the new growth on young apple trees from aphid damage, we plant lavender under the apple arch – the scent confuses the aphids.

Onions work well with carrots for the same reason – the strong onion scent disguises the carrot foliage fragrance and confuses the carrot fly. Herbs such as mint and sage are also used to confuse pests with their strong scents.

Fennel not only looks beautiful in the beds and is glorious as a cut flower, it attracts hoverflies which predate on aphids. Win win win!

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