Wildlife Gardeners Recognised

Friday 6th July 2012

Framfield Allotments cpt Cairis HickeyFramfield Allotments cpt Cairis Hickey

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts have announced the winners of the Big Wildlife Garden Competition. This has been funded, as part of its commitment to the Natural Environment White Paper, by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Gallery: see the winners and their gardens

The winning gardens are diverse and were created for different reasons: one began simply as somewhere to enjoy a glass of wine, another because a local community wanted to make something lovely of a rubbish-strewn corner of an allotment; the business winner wanted to provide staff with a refuge to enjoy at lunchtimes.  There are one each from Lancashire, North Lincolnshire, West Sussex and West Yorkshire and two in London.

“The Big Wildlife Garden competition was set up to encourage everyone to carry out some wildlife gardening on their doorstep.  No space is too small to be transformed,” says Morag Shuaib, from The Wildlife Trusts.

All the gardens had a variety of features that helped attract wildlife but this wasn’t all that impressed the judges who included TV presenter Sarah Raven and Dr Steve Head from the Wildlife Gardening Forum.  The winners showed outstanding enthusiasm and knowledge of wildlife that the judges found inspiring.

“It was so exciting going through the entries,” says Helen Bostock, RHS wildlife expert and one of the judges.  “Those who entered are obviously aware of the important role gardens have for wildlife and the wider natural environment.  But those we have chosen had fantastic drive and passion which made them stand out and this helped us pick them as the overall winners.”

Caroline Spelman, Environment Secretary, said:

“Gardening is a great passion of mine and it really shows me the true value of nature.  I am delighted to see that so many people have entered the Big Wildlife Garden competition and have been very impressed with the standards shown by the winners.

“Gardening is one of our great British pastimes and this competition has shown the passion people have for creating gardens which work as spaces for families and friends to enjoy as well as being wildlife havens.  This competition is a great example of how everyone can help the natural environment to flourish.”

no space is too small to be transformed

Morag Shuaib added:

“We are thrilled with the entries received – more than 400 from places as far apart as the north of Scotland and to the very south of England in Cornwall.  All entrants clearly love their gardens and get great pleasure from gardening for wildlife.  Our final six are particularly exceptional examples of what can be done and are truly reaping the rewards of their efforts with stunning wildlife spectacles, such as witnessing emerging dragonflies and even frogs’ chorus!”

The winners are –

Small residential winner cpt Cairis Hickey

Small residential 

Thierry Suzanne in London whose transformation of his garden within four years to a haven for wildlife was extraordinary.


Large residential
Terry Oliver in West Sussex who has developed a garden that works for wildlife yet at the same time is safe for his young grandchildren.

 New residential
Kathryn Entwistle in Lancashire for turning a waterlogged site into a thriving patch full of a variety of trees and flowers, thereby attracting a host of wild visitors.


Framfield Allotments in London for their novel tackling of an overgrown tangle of brambles and creation of a large pond.


Cemex South Ferriby Cement Plant in North Lincolnshire have taken a small area of wasteland beside a main road and converted it into a community wildlife garden enjoyed by people and animals alike.


Farsley Springbank Junior School in West Yorkshire for the wide variety of wildlife-friendly features which have helped engage children in the wonders of the natural world.

The type of features that appeared in most of the winning gardens included ponds, bird feeders, plants that attracted insects, wild flower areas and green roofs.

As part of their prize, all six winners will be attending a wildlife gardening master class at this year’s Ecover-sponsored RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. They will also receive a plaque in recognition of their achievement, a year’s membership to their local Wildlife Trust and RHS, a book on wildlife gardening, bird feed and wildflower seeds.

Gallery: see the winners and their gardens


Tagged with: Living Landscapes