Study launched into plants effect on biodiversity

Exactly which type of plants are best for boosting biodiversity in the garden will be established by a three-year study under way at the Royal Horticultural Societys (RHS) Garden Wisley site.

The scientific research will look at how native, near-native and exotic plants affect the number of insects living in the surrounding soil.

According to the RHS, the project has been underway since early 2009 and will lead to the organisation being better able to educate horticulture enthusiasts on improving biodiversity in their gardens.

"The average garden contains around 70 per cent non-native plants, but their role in supporting wildlife is unclear," RHS horticultural advisor Helen Bostock explained.

Sweet Briar (Rosa rubiginosa) will be one of the native plants used in the study, while Rosa rubrifolia and Fuschsia magallanica will be used as near-native and exotic examples.

In other news, the RHS is urging Brits to plant a tree on December 5th for BBC Tree OClocks Guinness World Record attempt.