SO, how exactly did you get into gardening? is a question I'm often asked.

While my story isn't the most exciting in the world (a case of a very supportive grandmother teaching me to grow horseradish and subsequently making horseradish sauce, an endless supply of free "muck" and an unhealthy desire to get my hands dirty) it does make me think about how we encourage our gardeners of tomorrow.

One thing I have learnt is that you can't force kids into something. It is best to encourage them until they want to do it.

It is therefore good to watch our younger garden centre customers as they race towards a display of plants, parents in tow.

It soon brings back memories of enthusiastically growing marrows on my old muckheap!

It takes a very special kind of plant to capture young people's attentions. Unfortunately the appeal of the humble marrow and even the sunflower seems to have waned over the years.

It seems that even Mother Nature needs to move with the times (or at least us growers do), and thankfully she provides the perfect "hook" to capture their imagination - insect eating plants.

Maybe just those three words alone are enough to suggest that these plants may be just a little naughty themselves — after all, you could never base a computer game on a courgette.

I like to think however it's that fascination of seeing nature in action, something tangible before your eyes, that begins to fascinate them.

And of course seeing one of those annoying "bugs" meeting a grisly end.

If you want to encourage your children to take a little more interest in what Mother Nature offers, set them up with their very own "Little Shop of Horrors".

Insect eating plants may not last for ever but the horticultural impression they leave with youngsters may.

Not only can they be fun, but they can illustrate a valuable lesson in how different plants adapt to survive by taking their food from nature itself.

Venus flytraps are of course the first example most of us think of, and if you've ever seen an unsuspecting creature captured by one you'll understand the fascination.

Available from garden centres as inexpensive young plants they make a perfect little treat for bedroom window sills over the summer holidays.

The sticky leaves of Sundews (Drosera) not only match the temptation of flytraps for inquisitive little fingers to poke, but are also quite appealing in their method of trapping their prey.

Covered in tiny droplets of juice, they not only trap the insect but use these to slowly digest it too. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Pitcher plants, which encompass a number of species, are sly little fellows, who attract their dinner into what seems an attractive and cosy little hiding place at the mouth of their funnel.

Once inside however, the insect becomes trapped and falls into yet another inhospitable liquid and again finds itself on the menu.

While our homes will never provide perfect conditions for these plants, it's perfectly possible to get several weeks or months out of them by observing a few rules.

Always use rainwater, provide plenty of humidity by mist spraying or use gravel trays (avoid tap water) and don't be tempted to use artificial fertiliser.