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Urban garden tips from four hip horticulturists heading for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Logging in …

Lilly Gomm, 28, has created a stunning ‘hedge’ of logs in her inner city garden that keeps the neighbours out — but lets the wildlife in. The gaps between the logs are small enough for privacy — but allow hedgehogs, bees, ladybirds, beetles and woodlice to come and go. Her favourite feature is her habitat house, complete with a hedgehog highway.

Lilly says: ‘They attract all the wonderful insects that will eat the pests in your garden, reducing the use of pesticides and creating a more balanced eco-system. They are great to build with the kids and help them develop a healthy relationship with nature.’

Make a habitat house

Use a wooden pallet (Gumtree) and fill generous square sections with a different natural material. A walk in the woods will help you find everything you need: rotting logs, pinecones, twigs, dry leaves and grass. And you can get old tiles and half bricks from builders’ skips. Wet cardboard is another good ingredient and add some bamboo canes too, as they are perfect nests for bees — 90 per cent of bees are solitary creatures and don’t live in colonies.

Five best plants to attract pollinating insects:


Served with a twist

Anca Panait’s garden is the perfect setting for a party. It’s inspired by her favourite tipple and features a stunning copper gin bar with a backdrop of bottles of the herb-infused spirit. But it comes with a healthy twist — the fragrant botanical plants swaying in the borders make it a great place to recover from a hangover the next day.

‘It’s a real multifunctional space and experience,’ says Anca, 28. ‘My favourite feature is the living herb wall, which offers nutritional garnishes for the cocktails — and hangover cures. It’s also sustainable so you’ll have an endless supply of all your favourite herbs, fruits and edible flowers. And it looks and smells amazing.’

Make a living herb wall

Buy a planting bags wall hanging planter (Amazon from £8.99) and tack on to a panel of ply board. Place a handful of multipurpose soil and a drop of organic liquid feed into each pocket then transfer your herb plant from its pot. For a fuller look, put two plants into each pocket. When all the pockets are full, nail the board to a timber post or a fence. Hang over a soil border and add gravel to provide drainage as this will need watering daily, especially in the heat. Then harvest as needed.

Five best aromatic plants to fill your herb wall:

Miniature strawberry
Edible Violas

Calm on down

Alexandra Noble’s meditation garden features a reflective pond and a continuous waterway — with no start or end — to inspire a sense of being in the moment. But her favourite creation is her chamomile couch and pouffe — planted with a cushion of tightly packed chamomile, which releases a calming fragrance when sat upon.

Alexandra, 29, says: ‘It is so powerful it brings you instantly back into the present moment and then as you breathe, it calms both mind and spirit.’

Make a chamomile cushion pouffe

Use a cylindrical pot (42cm, £30 Homebase) and fill with free-draining soil or use multipurpose soil on top of broken tiles or crockery. Add your chamomile plants – use 18 plants for the instant full cushion look, or just ten if you want to watch them grow and knit together naturally. Then put your feet up and enjoy. Dead head and water regularly to keep your cushion plumped.

Five best fragrant plants to soothe the spirit:

Peppermint ‘Black Mitcham’
Common camomile
Lemon balm
Lavender ‘Alba’

Treasure your trash

Ula Maria, 25, likes to litter her neat contemporary garden with antiques, mosaics and momentos from her travels. And she loves to upcycle household items that are often overlooked indoors, or stored away in cupboards and give them a new lease of life in the garden.

Ula says: ‘It’s a great way to bring the inside out and to fall back in love with the beautiful things you no longer use that once brought you pleasure.’

Make a garden from unused household junk

Got a vase that no longer fits with your indoor décor? Plant it with tall grasses and sit it in the corner of the patio. Fill a metal bucket with water and you have an instant bird bath under your tree. Add colour by planting flowers in old ceramic bowls and scatter them in the borders next to evergreens.

Five best sculptural plants:

Dahlia ‘Verrone’s Obsidian’
Potentilla Thurberi ‘Monarch’s Velvet’
Salvia ‘Blue note’
Euphorbia Mellifera
Deschampsia Cespitosa ‘Goldtau’

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs until July 8 and includes workshops on making your own floral crown/button hole and advice for growing your own fruit and veg, among many more events,