Wild about Gardens 2017 May 02, 2017 18:21

Wildlife gardensPrepare yourselves. Or rather, prepare your gardens. Kent Wildlife Trust has sounded the horn and the 2017 Wild About Gardens Awards are now underway! Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to be invited to hear more about this year's awards, which includes several new categories such as best garden for wild birds and best garden for hedgehogs. There are also awards for best urban garden, best small / balcony or container garden and cool school for nature. So, no excuses, you can go it alone or look to enter a school garden or local community project!

The timing for the awards is pretty much perfect. Over the next few months, gardens experience their annual growth spurt, with an abundance of flowers and foliage galloping away. This in turn means 'dinnertime' for bugs and beasties, so it is extremely important that wildlife get an invite for tea in your garden.

A sobering statistic from last Thursday's talk is still playing on my mind. In the last 70 years, 98% of meadows have disappeared. To me, this is pretty desperate, not just for our wildlife, but for our own wellbeing. However, gardens offer a ray of hope. There are acres and acres (around 667,000 acres to be exact) of private gardens, large and small, that can create safe havens, corridors, restaurants and homes for our furry and feathery friends. And let's be honest, a silent garden is not normal. A buzz here and a flap of wings there, offering a constant humming background to your pottering, is all part of the immersive, therapeutic effects of life outside.

If your garden is more wildlife 'library' than party central, read our recent post about five easy ways to make your garden more wildlife friendly. Meanwhile, if you are on the cusp of entering and not sure whether to take the plunge, let us allay your fears with a round up of our experience of the Kent Wild About Gardens Awards last year. We'll be entering again this year as we found it to be a wonderful opportunity to receive a little feedback on the garden and swap ideas. Wish us luck and good luck to you!