Red Mason Bees

Red Mason Bees © Jane Adams

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has launched its annual ‘Wildlife Friendly Garden competition’, which is now in its fifth year.

Previous winning garden

Previous winning garden © Joy Wallis

All entrants will get a visit to their garden from a judge who will provide feedback, including helpful advice on how to improve gardens for wildlife.

Categories include patio or small garden, medium to large garden, large, community garden or school, and best improved garden from winners of previous years. The judges will be looking for wildlife friendly features such as a bird box, bird bath, or pond.

Following the publication of the National Pollinator Strategy to protect pollinating insects which are a vital part of the food production and the diversity of the environment, extra credit will be given to any gardeners who are making special provision for pollinating insects.

Joy Wallis, DWT Community Conservation Officer said, “In the Wildlife Friendly Gardening competition 2015, participants will be given extra recognition for growing nectar and pollen rich plants, providing bee houses, log piles and keeping a record of the pollinators they see. Gardens are often far less toxic to insects than the intensively farmed countryside, and we want to encourage all gardeners to think of their gardens as havens for pollinating insects. If you delight in seeing hedgehogs, butterflies and birds, a wildlife friendly garden will reward you with frequent wildlife visitors throughout the summer.”

Prizes include a selection of gardening products, gardening vouchers, books and a winners’ plaque. There will be an awards ceremony on Thursday 30 July at Castle Gardens, Sherborne, with guest speaker Dr David Aplin.

Closing dates for entries is Friday 22 May 2015. For more details and an entry form, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlifegardening or phone 01305 264620.

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