Is your garden wild enough to win an award?

A conservation charity is offering local green fingered folk the chance to have their patches honoured as a ‘wildlife-friendly garden’.

Devon wildlife Trust is launching its Wildlife Gardening Awards to encourage Exeter people to help the city’s varied and precious wildlife.  The scheme is free to enter and open to individuals, private gardeners, schools, housing associations, community groups and businesses based in Exeter.

The charity plans to present Wildlife Gardening Award plaques to gardens which are able to achieve six nature friendly criteria from a list of 25 that it has drawn up. The list includes a selection of inexpensive to do wildlife measures such as growing nectar rich plants; providing a well-stocked bird feeder; putting in a pond; topping up a bird bath; erecting nest boxes, using a compost heap and leaving a log pile.

Welcome wildlife into your garden by investing in some new plants.

The charity’s Emily Stallworthy has masterminded the initiative. Emily said: “City gardens are hugely important for wildlife. They provide shelter, food and water and they are the stepping stones that help wildlife travel between parks, river corridors and countryside borders. We’re hoping the people of Exeter will want to do their bit to help the hedgehogs, birds, butterflies, moths and bees which rely on Exeter’s gardens. The message is that all gardens, however big or small, are important.”

Emily has been working on the city’s Exeter Wild City project for five years. Under the project Devon Wildlife Trust has worked with Exeter City Council and local communities to plant wildflower meadows, orchards and hedgerows. Thanks to Exeter Wild City, schools, roadside verges, parks and even roundabouts have all seen wildlife-friendly planting, bringing colour and wildlife to our streets.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Emily Stallworthy said: “Now we want to spread the influence of Exeter Wild City into people’s gardens. Together they can provide a veritable feast for wildlife all through the year.  The message about how important wild gardens are is getting through. More and more people are providing water, bird and hedgehog food, and planting flowers that provide colourful displays for long periods.  This means that nectar and pollen are available year round for bees, butterflies and other important pollinators.

We want to recognise these efforts and encourage others to do the same through our new Wildlife Gardening Award. We hope people will enter and then display their plaques with pride. The more plaques we see around the city the better Exeter will be for wildlife.”

Applications to the scheme can be submitted online at

Gardeners should submit photos as evidence to show how much effort has gone into creating their wildlife friendly garden. Successful award entrants will receive a small plaque and wildflower seeds (while stocks last) designed to be planted this autumn.