Keep bugs at bay the natural way, says Kris

Nothing Spoils the memory of a summer evening in the garden, like waking up the following day covered in insect bites. Biting insects common in the UK include midges, gnats, ticks, mites and horseflies. Instead of installing a bug zapper or employing sickly sweet citronella candles why not try this natural control method? All the plants in this container are known for their insect repelling properties. Once in place on the patio simply stir the foliage regularly, even crushing a few leaves, to release their aromatic scents, loved by us, hated by insects.

Here’s how:

1) Line the bottom of a large terracotta pot with crocks and part fill with a soil-based John Innes No.3 compost. Mix in slow release fertiliser and place eucalyptus rootball, teasing loose any dense roots.

2) Add more compost to raise the level for the smaller plants and place the three thyme plants equally around the eucalyptus. Aim to add compost between the thyme roots and pot.

3) With thyme in place, now spread the three lavender equally around the pot, again aiming to add compost between the rootballs and pot side, this will prevent roots drying out quickly.

4) Fill gaps with more compost and thinly cover the top of the eucalyptus rootball. Water well and site near your garden seating area to make the most of the insect repelling qualities.

5) To finish the look and improve moisture retention in the pot, add a layer of decorative stones around the plants. The slate used here will complement the flowers of the lavender and thyme.

Get all the plants you need to create this display for just £29.95

  • Visit, add the anti-mosquito standard gum tree (Eucalyptus gunnii), lavender and thyme package, priced £39.95 to your online shopping basket.
  • Then, at the checkout, enter code AG0511 (valid until end of June 2011) and receive a £10 discount.
  • Alternatively call Gardening Express on 08448 044 253 and quote the code to the operator to claim your discount.