Maureen Rainey, Ali Corbel and Malcolm Moore from Sittingbourne in Bloom
This week I caught up with Maureen Rainey from the Kent Wildlife Trust who was at the Forum Shopping Centre along with members of Sittingbourne in Bloom and a host of other organisations including Optivo, Dartford Bee Keepers, Amethyst Horticulture and garden designer Sue Willmott who were all present to promote the idea of making your garden more wildlife friendly.
Kent Wildlife Trust are also currently promoting their ‘Wild About Gardens’ award scheme which is open to anyone who has or is developing a wildlife friendly garden in Kent.
Maureen explained “I work part time for Kent Wildlife Trust and I run the Wild about Gardens scheme, which is an award scheme with a difference. It’s very different to what Sittingbourne in Bloom do because the gardens don’t have to be finished and we can come out and give advice.”
Any size and type of garden, schools, community garden or even allotments are welcome to take part. Entry is free, but the Kent Wildlife Trust always welcome a donation towards their costs.
Maureen said “We want to encourage people with small gardens in urban areas, who don’t necessarily have a lot of money to take part. We are more about giving advice than giving an award."
"People might say ‘oh my garden isn’t good enough’ but we say as long as they have started, we can’t come out if nothing has been done, but as long as they have just made a start then a volunteer will come out and offer advice if needed.”
“We call it an awards scheme because people like a celebration and we have a big celebration in the autumn and we invite everybody who entered. We have a talk about a couple of the winning gardens and the beginners can come and they can all talk to each other. If we were to simply come out and just give advice it would not be quite as exciting, and everybody likes a pat on the back and I think having that little bit of extra fun helps.”
The volunteer wildlife gardening advisors try and visit as many entries as they are able to during the summer months. Certificates are awarded for Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver and Bronze levels. Gold winners receive on of Kent Wildlife Trust’s coveted blue plaques.
There are also a number of special awards for the best gardens for wild birds, bats, bees, hedgehogs and pond life.
The closing date is 30th June and you can contact Maureen directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01622 662012.
More information and an entry form can be found on their website http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/discover-learn/wild-about-gardens-awards