Your garden could be as good as a mini-rain forest for wildlife, according to Dorset and Somerset Wildlife Trusts, launching the Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition for 2012. Now in its third year in Dorset, the competition sponsored by The Gardens Group aims to recognise the increasingly important contribution gardeners are making to the conservation of wildlife, even in the smallest spaces. It has been so successful that it is now being launched for the first time in Somerset, due to popular demand from the county’s wildlife loving gardeners.
Biodiversity that rivals the rain forest
The competition is the brainchild of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Community Conservation Officer, Joy Wallis, who said: “Gardens are proving to play an ever more important role in helping to connect countryside across built-up areas and they can be vital wildlife havens. A recently published 30-year study has identified over 2,673 different species in a very ordinary suburban garden in Leicester, making it as bio-diverse as parts of the rain forest!”
Beth Jerrett, Communications and PR Manager at Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: “Gardens are an essential part of the network of wildlife corridors that criss-cross Somerset’s towns, villages and countryside. With 124,500 gardens in Somerset, covering 19 square kilometres, it’s an inspiring time for gardeners with the realisation that what you do in your own patch can be of real value to local wildlife.”
Size doesn't matter
Dorset and Somerset Wildlife Trusts and The Gardens Group are keen to encourage owners of all types and sizes of gardens to enter the competition, as the many mini-habitats in our gardens form part of a greater area that can be used by wildlife. Hedgehogs need around 12 gardens for foraging and flying insects will happily visit a garden no bigger than a large plant pot.
This year’s garden categories are: Patio or Small (less than 100 square metres); Medium Large; Large; Community or School; and Best Improved Garden for last year’s winners. Entrants are encouraged to send in photos of their wildlife features, such as a nectar-rich border, bird feeders, pond or bath, native trees, hedge and long grass area. Winners will receive a plaque and there are wildlife-friendly prizes for the runners up and for every school that enters the competition, kindly donated by The Gardens Group.
The closing date for entries is 18th May and judging will take place from May to June.
Wildlife Friendly garden features could include:
For wildlife gardening ideas and to enter the competition, visit the Dorset Wildlife Gardening Competition page or the Somerset Wildlife Gardening page or ring 01305 264620 for Dorset and 01823 652400 for Somerset.
- Wildlife Pond
- Bog or permanently wet area
- Bird bath
- Bird Box
- Wild flower meadow
- Long grass area
- Nectar rich flower border and bushes
- Mixed Native Hedge
- Mature native tree
- Log pile and/or substantial decaying tree stump
- Compost heap
- No-go area
- Climbing plants/trellises suitable for nesting and feeding
- Slug pellet free
About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Joy Wallis at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Somerset Wildlife Trust
The Gardens Group
Somerset Wildlife Trust is the county’s leading environmental voluntary body, with around 21,000 members.
The charity owns and/or manages 75 nature reserves all over the county. Money raised is spent to restore, recreate and reconnect our damaged countryside by creating living landscapes for wildlife and people. We help wildlife adapt to climate change, encourage sustainable living, fight to save sites where wildlife is threatened by monitoring development and inspire people to create more green space bringing environmental, social and economic benefits. The trust is one of 47 in the UK. Together, they make up the Wildlife Trusts Partnership. www.somersetwildlife.org
Three Garden Centres, Poundbury Gardens (Dorchester), Castle Gardens (Sherborne) and Brimsmore Gardens (Yeovil) each offering customers a very special kind of service in individual settings one in a converted Victorian farm building and another in the walled garden of Sherborne Castle. Think ‘deli for plants’ rather than a supermarket! A team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable plants-men and women, coupled with exemplary customer service and the dedication to find a perfect plant for each location is what makes people come back time and again to The Gardens Group. Not to mention the three restaurants, a farm shop and three award-winning Christmas Displays. To find out more go to www.thegardeneronline.co.uk.
Wildlife Friendly Garden Mrs King’s garden in Cerne Abbas won last year’s best small garden category. Photo by Tony Bates.
Blue-tit by Terry Fisher
Hedgehog by Jeremy Powne