Gardening for wildlife

Wild Garden by Caroline Fitton

Gardening and wildlife have a direct link explored in a new report from the Horticultural Trades Association

Gardening and wildlife go hand in hand  - the Horticultural Trades Association have just produced a special report on wildlife looking at the crossover in demographics and interests between keen gardeners and those who love wildlife. It looks at how the industry can tap into this and highlights some garden businesses who are collaborating with their local Wildlife Trust.

The Trust collaborates with local garden centres, meeting gardeners - invariably wildlife enthusiasts - keen to learn more about how they can help wildlife whatever the size of their garden. In Bedfordshire, for example, we have worked with Milton Ernest and Langford garden centres, enjoying advising customers about all the things they can do to encourage wildlife.

The report's findings conclude that people who regularly garden as a hobby or get great pleasure from their gardens are more likely to enjoy learning about nature and wildlife than the general population:

* 24% of keen gardeners usually watch environmental/wildlife programmes on TV

* 47% of keen gardeners bought wild bird food in the last year (versus 24% of the general population)

* Gardeners are twice as likely to be a member of a wildlife or animal trust

* 46% of garden lovers agree they would never buy toiletries or cosmetics that were tested on animals

* The hedgehog National Garden Gift Card design continues to sell more than all the other designs put together!

At the Trust's Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre work is done to involve people with wildlife: Bosworth’s garden centre kindly donated wildlife friendly plants for planters at the Visitor Centre, which demonstrate what can be done in gardens and/or window boxes, and promotes wildlife friendly gardening. Katie King, Wildlife and Communities officer said: “It’s been great working with Bosworth’s to create the wildlife friendly planters at the visitor centre. The plants always look beautiful and are a great example to show people how they can make their own gardens better for wildlife. It's also been wonderful seeing children attending our ‘Gardening for Wildlife’ events, getting involved with the planting of the containers and learning all about plants and pollinators in the process.”

The Trust also promote Wildlife Friendly Gardening to Corporate Members, many of whom employ a large number of staff and/or have large sites, which can be real havens for wildlife. The Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards includes categories for best use of recycling, employee engagement, wildlife sighting and wildlife garden at work. Cambridgeshire-based Hunts Wildlife Landscapes judge the awards and the Tust are looking to ‘grow’ this initiative in coming years to involve more companies.

For more information contact or call 01954 713484.

See Wild About Gardens for tips on planting for pollinators