Surrey’s Wildest Gardeners Revealed!

Tuesday 11th October 2016

David Knapp's garden in Puttenham

Piles of dead wood, long grass, bee hives and ponds – just some of the wildlife-friendly features that impressed the judges of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Garden Awards 2016.

If we all make space for nature in our own backyards, it will give wildlife a huge helping hand... 


The winners were announced at a ceremony at Squire’s Garden Centre in Badshot Lea.

“Nearly 100 people entered the competition this year and half of those achieved Gold standard, which is a brilliant result!” said the Trust’s Wildlife Gardening Officer Dawn Fielding.

“It’s clear there are lots of people in our county who are really passionate about gardening for wildlife and it has been a real pleasure to visit their gardens to decide who would be this year’s Wildlife Garden Award winners.” 

Wildlife that was once common in our gardens in now under serious threat – bees, hedgehogs and many of our birds, including the house sparrow and swift, are in decline. As many gardeners become less tolerant of weeds, using more pesticides and covering the ground with decking, gravel and patios, so nature is being squeezed out.

“Surrey’s gardens make up around 12% of the county’s landscape – more than 20,000 hectares - and if we all make space for nature in our own backyards, it will give wildlife a huge helping hand,” added Dawn. 

The eight over-all winners in each category are:

  • Schools: St Joseph’s Specialist School and College, Cranleigh; Green Oak School, Godalming and Ashley C of E Primary School, Walton on Thames
  • Private Garden (Large): David Knapp, Puttenham
  • Private Garden (Medium): Rachel Mulligan, Godalming
  • Private Garden (Small): Bev and Steve Ayton, Woking
  • Business: Fire and Iron Gallery, Leatherhead
  • Community Garden: Patchworking Garden Project, Dorking

All entrants whose garden qualified received a bronze, silver or gold certificate declaring their garden to be officially a wildlife haven. Gold award winners were also presented with a commemorative plaque and the best gardens won a £50 Squire’s Garden Centres voucher.

“At Squire’s Garden Centres we appreciate how important gardens can be for the wellbeing of our native wildlife and many of our customers do too,” said Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres, which sponsored the competition. 

“Many are specifically selecting plants which are useful to wildlife - this great news, but there’s clearly more to do. So we are delighted to be working closely with the Surrey Wildlife Trust to encourage more wildlife into people’s gardens."

The Wildlife Garden Award 2016 is part of the Trust’s ‘Wild About Gardens campaign’. It forms part of the Trust’s vision for a ‘Living Landscape’, which aims to provide a network of wildlife friendly refuges to enable wildlife to thrive and move across our landscape.

For further tips on how to turn your garden into a wildlife haven click here. Wildlife gardening packs offering a host of good, simple ideas are also available through the Trust’s online shop for £6 each.

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