Dorset’s most wildlife-friendly gardens were honoured at Castle Gardens in Sherborne on Thursday 21 July, in Dorset Wildlife Trust’s annual Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition.
The competition, which is sponsored by The Gardens Group, saw 43 entries this year, from schools, visitor centres and tourist attractions around the county. A new category was added in 2016 for rented accommodation, to promote the idea that everyone can provide a more welcoming habitat for wildlife, without necessarily making structural changes to the garden.
Before the winners were announced, British bat expert, Nick Tomlinson, conservation officer at Somerset Wildlife Trust, gave a fascinating talk about the importance of bats and their role in garden biodiversity. Dorset, home to 16 species, is the most diverse county in the UK for bats, and Nick provided some useful advice and tips on how to give bats a warm welcome to the garden.
Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, said: “Each year, the bar is raised and the entrants into the competition get more creative and sophisticated in their efforts to provide vital corridors for our wildlife. It is an absolute pleasure for me to visit these gardens during the judging process and see what a difference these wonderful havens are making to the county’s wildlife.”
Following the awards ceremony, everyone went home with a certificate, feedback form and gift voucher for The Gardens Group garden centres located in Sherborne, Yeovil and Poundbury, Dorchester. Winners received Dorset Wildlife Trust membership for a year, a wooden plaque, and a gardening kit.
The winners of the Wildlife Friendly Gardening Awards 2016 are as follows:
First place: Hugh Miles from Corfe Mullen
Second place: Gillian and Allan Reese from Dorchester
Third place: Bridget Bowen from Piddletrenthide
First place: Bernard Sullivan from Bourton
Second place: Jackie and John Lloyd from Preston
Third place: Barry Shepherd from Wool
First place: Lyn Parson from Bournemouth
Second place: Carole Irving from Maiden Newton
Third place: Richard and Linda Hart from Gillingham
Gardens in rented accommodation
First place: Sarah Jane Buckle from Poole
Second place: Lenka Provasnikova from Bournemouth
Third place: Penny Smith from Harmon’s Cross
First place: Smiley Faces Preschool in Southwell, Portland
Second place: Michael House in Grosvenor Gardens, Boscombe
Third place: Hengistbury Head Volunteers, Barn Cottage, Broadway