New shoots for wildlife friendly gardening, as competition sees record breaking entries

On Wednesday July 19, Dorset’s most wildlife friendly gardens were celebrated at Castle Gardens in Sherborne at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s annual Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition, which is sponsored by The Gardens Group.

This year’s competition not only saw a record number of entries, with over 75 gardens from schools and visitor centres to small patios and large meadows entered, but it also received entries from younger gardeners, with Charlie, the youngest contender ever to enter, (pictured left) picking up a Highly Commended in the Small Garden category.

Before the awards were announced, RHS qualified gardener and author Kate Bradbury (pictured centre) took guests on an inspiring ‘warts and all’ journey, revealing how she turned a small basement flat garden in Brighton filled with decking and concrete and not a glimpse of wildlife in sight, into a haven for local bees, butterflies and birds. Kate now receives an abundance of species into her urban garden and provided the 165-strong audience with some useful advice and tips on how to welcome life back into any sized garden.

The Gardens Group managing director Mike Burks (pictured right) commented: “Each year the bar is raised even higher and the entrants into the competition get more creative and sophisticated in their efforts to provide vital corridors for our wildlife. This year we saw more entries than ever before, and it’s an absolute pleasure to see how this way of gardening is progressing among all ages and us wildlife friendly gardeners no longer have to hide in the dark! I thoroughly enjoy visiting these gardens during the judging process and seeing the difference these wonderful havens are making to the county’s wildlife. I hope everyone left feeling proud of their efforts and inspired to keep it up.”


Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition Awards 2017

Large gardens

First place: Diana Guy from Wimborne

Second place: Meriel Peain from Preston

Third place: Michael Evans from Wimborne

Highly commended: Gillian Ringrose from Dorchester

Highly commended: David & Jo Hartgill from Gillingham


Medium gardens

First place: Christine Rashleigh-Berry from Preston

Second place: Matt Porter from Dorset

Third place: Bernard Sullivan from Bourton

Highly commended: Julian & Judith Wardlaw from Dorchester

Highly commended: Joan Timms from Shaftesbury


Small gardens

First place: Lucy Daisy Jenkins from Wimborne

Second place: Carole Irving from Maiden Newton

Third place: Margaret Bascombe from Poole

Highly commended: Charlie, Megan and Ivie from Wimborne


Gardens in rented accommodation

First place: Sarah Jane Buckle from Poole

Second place: John Arundel from Portland

Third place: Mr & Mrs Morton from Blandford Forum


Community gardens

First place: Michael House in Grosvenor Gardens, Boscombe

Second place: Jan Ayrton, Oakdale Library Gardens in Poole

Third place: Julie Yeates, Wyke Primary School in Gillingham

Highly Commended: Paul Smith, Pine Tree Bungalow in Sherborne

Highly Commended: The Residents of Drummond Wolff House in Bournemouth