How to have a bee-friendly Kentish garden
PUBLISHED: 11:58 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:58 18 March 2016
Are you a budding WAGA? That's a Wild About Gardens Advisor, by the way - and Kent Wildlife Trust is on the hunt.
What could be better than spending the summer months visiting lovely Kentish gardens, and hearing all about the wonderful wildlife they support?
As a volunteer wildlife gardening advisor for Kent Wildlife Trust, I get to do just that, thanks to all the people who enter the Wild About Gardens Awards scheme.
Our aim is to encourage everyone to garden in a way that is beneficial to wildlife. The job of the advisor is to offer practical advice, so gardeners can do their bit to protect Kent’s wildlife.
The scheme is free to enter and open to anyone in Kent who has, or is, developing a wildlife-friendly space. It can be anything, from a town balcony to several acres in the country. It’s not just for private gardens: allotments, community groups and schools are all welcome.
From early spring until the closing date of 30 June, entry forms are received at Kent Wildlife Trust and distributed to the team of volunteer advisors. We choose what type of gardens to visit and where and visits are arranged to be convenient for both gardener and advisor.
Some will be new entries, others may be from gardeners who have entered before, keen to show what’s been achieved since last year. It is a pleasure to go back and hear that recommendations have been acted on and more wildlife spotted.
For the gardener, there will be the added excitement later in the year of finding out if their garden will merit one of the award certificates of gold, silver-gilt, silver or bronze. Gold-award winners also get a plaque to display in their garden, as well as the potential to be nominated to receive one of the special awards such as Best Garden for Bees, Amphibians or Bats. All entrants and volunteer advisors are invited to our big celebration event at the end of the season.
Advisors, whether new or experienced, are invited to attend regular free training sessions and events where we exchange ideas and advice, as well as enjoying tea and cake.
It is a truly worthwhile volunteer role. I can’t wait for the first entry forms to come my way this year and to head off to meet some really nice people, sharing a passion for wildlife-friendly gardening, as well as finding that hidden ‘jewel in the town’ or a glorious expanse of meadowland humming with bees.
Find out more
If you are interested in training as a Volunteer Wildlife Gardening Advisor or would like to enter your garden in the scheme, please visit www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk or call Maureen Rainey, Scheme Coordinator, on 01622 662012 for more information.
Don’t forget you can also enter your garden into the 2016 Kent Life Garden Awards, www.kentgardenawards.co.uk which has new partners and categories designed to encourage groups and individuals who garden with wildlife in mind.