Your garden could be as good as a mini-rain forest for wildlife, according to Somerset and Dorset 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 South Somerset, due to popular demand from the county’s wildlife loving gardeners.
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.”
A Dorset Initiative
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 2673 different species in a very ordinary suburban garden in Leicester, making it as bio-diverse as parts of the rain forest!”
Somerset and Dorset 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 are known to 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. For wildlife gardening ideas and to enter the competition, visit
or ring 01305 264620 for Dorset and 01823 652400 for Somerset.
Wildlife Friendly garden features could include:
* 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
Photograph © Anna Guthrie