RHS wildlife show stoppers

Round & About

A garden with nature’s recovery at its heart will be premiered by The Wildlife Trusts at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

The Wildlife Trusts: Wilder Spaces garden promises to take wildlife-friendly gardening to a new level, combining beauty with biodiversity.

Wilder Spaces is sponsored by The Wildlife Trusts, led by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and its ecological consultancy Future Nature WTC. Working with experts from Oxford Garden Design, the team will demonstrate how wildlife habitats can be designed into the structure of a garden, using building waste, reclaimed material and untreated timbers. With biodiversity designed into the garden, hopes of winning a prestigious RHS medal are high.

The Wildlife Trusts believe gardening has a vital role to play in nature’s recovery, with long-term benefits for climate and people’s wellbeing too. The aim of the garden is to inspire visitors to think differently about the appearance of a garden designed for people and wildlife, and to show how we can all nurture nature, no matter what size or style of garden.

Estelle Bailey, BBOWT’s chief executive, said: “Nature is in crisis and not enough is being done to reverse this terrible decline in the UK’s biodiversity. We want to see 30% of land well managed for nature by 2030 and our gardens are a vital part of that wild jigsaw. Private gardens make up a bigger area than all of Britain’s nature reserves combined – they can provide a mosaic of mini-habitats that support a diverse range of species, so they are key to helping create more nature everywhere. RHS Malvern Spring Festival will be a great opportunity to showcase to people everywhere what they can achieve in their own gardens for nature, for climate and for themselves.”

The garden will include a range of nature and climate positive features, including grassland, wetland & deadwood, pollinator and larval friendly planting, a steam, waterfall and pond, a compost channel and hoverfly stumpery, recycled materials – timber, steel, building aggregate, a biodiverse roof and solitary bee columns & climate resilient planting and landscaping.

The garden features a watercourse that meanders through the plot towards a central pond and a section of bog planting. A pavilion, created in conjunction with Charlie Luxton Design and constructed from reclaimed steel joists and grating, will be topped with a living roof.

Oxford Garden Design, with Jamie Langlands as lead designer, is returning to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival following its successful 2022 show garden. Jamie has designed a garden that’s beautiful to behold and beneficial for the natural world. Jamie says: “I love creating spaces that are wild and untamed whilst having a little wonder within them.”

“I love creating spaces that are wild and untamed”

Sheena Marsh, owner and founder of Oxford Garden Design, which is also building the garden, said: “We are delighted to be working with BBOWT on The Wilder Spaces Garden, bringing together our learnings from BBOWT with Jamie’s creativity. We hope that this garden will inspire home owners to create wilder spaces in their own gardens.”

Once the RHS Malvern Spring Festival is over, the garden will be distributed across various Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust sites and projects. The seating will go to BBOWT’s College Lake visitor Centre, near Tring or Sutton Courtenay Education Centre’s wildlife garden near Didcot. The RHS Malvern Spring Festival runs from 11-14 May 2023 at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire.

For more information and tickets to the show visit The RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2023 / RHS Gardening