Dorset’s gardeners celebrated at Wildlife Friendly Gardening Awards

On Thursday July 26, Dorset’s most wildlife friendly gardeners were revealed at Castle Gardens in Sherborne during Dorset Wildlife Trust’s annual Wildlife Friendly Gardening Competition awards ceremony, sponsored by The Gardens Group.

From a homeless hostel to a sculpture park, this year’s entries saw an unprecedented crop of contenders, featuring all shapes and sizes of gardens including the smallest of courtyards and the most striking of meadows. A new innovation award was also introduced for 2018, to encourage gardeners to share their inventive and environmentally friendly ways of welcoming wildlife into their gardens.

Before the awards were announced, one of Britain’s leading plantsmen, Neil Lucas, inspired the audience with a talk on the relationship between our gardens and the animal life within them. The RHS council member and author of Designing with Grasses dug into his personal experience, uncovering how his naturalistic planting style led him to establish the Knoll Gardens Foundation, supporting sustainable gardening that is welcoming to wildlife.

The Gardens Group managing director Mike Burks explained: “With every new year we see a higher standard of wildlife friendly gardening on display, and it is a great privilege to judge these havens and visit the much-needed corridors being created for the county’s wildlife.

“The fantastic volume and variety of entries we received shows that wildlife friendly gardeners are moving ever more into the mainstream and we were delighted to see the new Innovation Award shining a light on those creative corners of the garden that we can all learn something from! I hope all of the entrants left feeling proud of their efforts and inspired to keep it up.”


Wildlife Friendly Gardening Competition award winners 2018

Large gardens

First place: Philippa Forrest from Shaftesbury

Second place: Angela Patterson from Lyme Regis

Third place: Penny Fenwick from Buckland Ripers

Highly commended: Meriel Peain from Weymouth


Medium gardens

First place: Anne Smart from Weymouth

Second place: Julian Wardlaw from Piddlehinton

Third place: Marion and Jim Perris from Frome Vauchurch

Highly commended: Brian Baker from Wooland

Highly commended: Sally Lester-Shaw from Blandford Forum


Small gardens

First place: Lyn Parsons from Bournemouth

Second place: Carole Irving from Maiden Newton

Third place: Judith Hooper from Wimborne

Highly commended: Penny Smith from Swanage

Highly commended: Stuart Bexon from Cerne Abbas


Gardens in rented accommodation

First place: Lorraine Bickle from Branksome

Second place: Hannah Marsh from Maiden Newton

Highly commended: Claire Wait from Bournemouth


Community gardens

First place: Monique Gudgeon, Sculpture by the Lakes in Pallington

Second place: Julia Nineham, Prince of Wales School and Pre School in Dorchester

Third place: Jim Gardner, Danecourt Road Community Space in Poole


Innovation Awards

Michael House in Grosvenor Gardens, Boscombe

Helen Mandy from Beaminster

Jacqui Warder from Puddletown

Hannah Marsh from Maiden Newton


Best New Garden

Kerrie Froude from Sherborne