The Hunt is on to Find Surrey’s Wildest Gardeners!

Thursday 4th May 2017

Wildlife Garden Awards 2017Peacock Butterfly - Jim Higham

Surrey Wildlife Trust has joined forces with Squire’s Garden Centres to launch this year’s Wildlife Garden Award 2017. It’s free to enter and open to any type of garden in Surrey - regardless of size.

“Gardens are on the front line of our battle to save nature - they provide stepping stones throughout our towns and villages so that wildlife can move around,” said the Trust’s Wildlife Gardening Officer Dawn Fielding.

Surrey’s gardens make up around 12% of the county’s landscape – more than 20,000 hectares – but sadly wildlife is being pushed out, as many gardeners become less tolerant of weeds, using more pesticides and covering the ground with decking, gravel and patios.

Wildlife that was once common in our backyards in now under serious threat. The British bee population has fallen by a third since 2007. In the last 10 years hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30% - they’re disappearing from our landscape as fast as tigers are worldwide. Many of our urban birds are also in decline - including the house sparrow and swift. 

"If we all make space for nature in our own backyards, it will give wildlife a huge helping hand,” added Dawn. “You don’t need a big garden to take part in the competition - balconies, allotments, front gardens, schools and business grounds can all be fantastic havens for wildlife.”

Last year’s winners included Green Oak School in Godalming, which had a garden packed with fruit and vegetables, as well as two goats and a pig! The community winner was the Patchworking Garden Project in Dorking, where volunteers transformed an unused space with a bird watching area, woodland glade and borders packed with flowers. Private garden winners included thriving wildlife ponds, flowers for bees and a variety of habitats for birds, hedgehogs, invertebrates and reptiles. 

Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s Garden Centres said: “At Squire’s Garden Centres we appreciate how important gardens can be for the wellbeing of our native wildlife and our customers do too. Many are specifically selecting plants which are useful to wildlife – this is great news, but there’s clearly more to do. So we are delighted to be working closely with Surrey Wildlife Trust to encourage more wildlife into our gardens.”

The best wildlife friendly spaces offer food, water and shelter. Here are The Trust’s five top tips on how to make your garden a little bit wilder:
• Make a pond or water feature to create a wildlife haven
• Plant native shrubs and trees to provide berries and fruit to feed the birds
• Plant nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies and bees
• Build a compost heap to recycle your garden waste
• Create woodpiles and bug hotels for slow worms and invertebrates

The Trust has put together a Wildlife Gardening Top Tips video, packed with ideas and inspiration to help make your garden a haven for nature. Created by Relevant Films, the video can be viewed here >>

The wildlife gardening competition is open from now until the end of July 2017 and the best gardens will win a £50 Squire’s Garden Centre voucher. Any entrant whose garden qualifies will receive a bronze, silver or gold certificate declaring that their garden is officially a wildlife haven. Gold award winners will also be presented with a commemorative plaque. 

To enter your garden into the Wildlife Garden Award 2017 visit the wildlife gardening pages of our website here >>

Tagged with: Business, Living Landscapes, Outdoor learning, Species, Wildlife gardening, Wildlife Watch