Wildlife gardening 'comes of age'

A national conference is marking developments in making urban greenspace wildlife-friendly.

Chris Baines
Chris Baines

Professor Chris Baines, who is speaking at the Natural History Museum event on 17 November, said: "In the last 10 years, we've seen a step change in our understanding of what can make gardens great places for wildlife; the challenge now is to encourage many more people to put it into practice."

Dr Steve Head, who has been coordinator of the Wildlife Gardening Forum for most of its 10 years, said: "Perhaps the biggest shift we've seen in the last decade is the increasing recognition that the 16 million gardens and associated parks and greenspaces in the UK, which together cover an area a fifth of the size of Wales, have a genuine role to play in nature conservation.

"Gardens contain important populations of declining species such as starlings, hedgehogs and stag beetles. We now know that, if we all play our part, we can make a genuine difference to their survival.

"We also now understand that wildlife gardens don't need to be scruffy and only contain native species. Beautiful, well-designed gardens containing some well-chosen, native and non-native species can be just as good or even better.

He said studies that have revolutionised the way we think about wildlife in gardens have included:

  • Sheffield University's Biodiversity in Urban Gardens in Sheffield study
  • the Royal Horticultural Society's Plants for Bugs study
  • Jennifer Owen’s 30 year study of an average Leicester garden, in which she found over 2,600 species of plants, fungi and animals.

Campaigns have included:

  • RHS and Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens
  • The RSPB's Giving Nature a Home campaign
  • The People's Trust for Endangered Species Hedgehog Street campaign.

Baines added: "Despite our growing knowledge of the value of gardens for wildlife and people, we are still losing garden space to development and parking. London lost the equivalent of  two and a half Hyde Parks of vegetated garden area each year from 1998 to 2008. Gardens occupy half of city green space and deserve better protection.

"Ultimately, wildlife gardening is good for the planet and good for the soul. What more excuse do you need to do it than that?!"

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.



These tidy evergreen trees are not just for Christmas and come in a range of shapes and sizes, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Landscape Contracts & Tenders

Industry Data

New: We have pooled the wealth of data from the past six months' worth of Landscape Project Leads to create an exclusive report for subscribers looking at the key development trends, clients and locations for 2016.