Last Thursday we celebrated Dorset’s most wildlife friendly gardeners at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s annual Wildlife Friendly Gardening Competition awards ceremony at Castle Gardens. With the introduction of an Innovation Award for 2018, encouraging gardeners to share their inventive ways of welcoming wildlife into their gardens, this year’s entries saw an unprecedented crop of contenders, featuring all shapes and sizes of gardens from the smallest of courtyards to the most striking of meadows.

Before the awards were announced, Neil Lucas inspired the audience with a talk on the relationship between our gardens and the animal life within them. The RHS council member 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 fantastic volume and variety of entries we received this year shows that wildlife friendly gardeners are moving ever more into the mainstream. I can’t wait to see then new gardens that next year brings, and I hope all of the entrants left feeling proud of their efforts and inspired to keep up the good work.