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Festival of Gardening at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust PDF Print E-mail

Thursday, 10 February 2011 09:52

1-31 March 2011

“A garden without wildlife…

is like a kiss without a squeeze.”


Celebrity gardener, Alan Titchmarsh

speaking at the opening of the RBC Rain Garden at WWT London Wetland Centre, September 2010

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is devoting an entire month to celebrating gardening for wildlife by organising a host of green-fingered events and activities at its nine visitor centres across the UK, offering advice on how to attract wildlife to your garden, as well as showing you how to use water wisely! 

WWT’s Festival of Gardening has the backing of the country’s best known gardener, Alan Titchmarsh, who has thrown his weight behind this initiative to champion the link between gardening and wildlife conservation and highlight the importance of the sustainable use of water in your garden.

Alan said: “I happen to believe that gardening is at the sharp end of nature conservation. Wildlife is fragile, it’s true, but it’s also adaptable, and it’s certainly opportunistic. Create the right environment, and the wildlife will come. If WWT is able to build a magnificent garden for wildlife in the midst of a city of millions, just think what you can achieve in your own patch of land.

“The new RBC Rain Garden at WWT London Wetland Centre is a great reminder that water is the most precious of resources, and a well-managed garden pond plays a wonderful role in protecting that resource.”

Supported by NFU Mutual, the Festival of Gardening programme of activities and events at centres throughout March will include walks and talks covering topics including how to attract wildlife to your garden or build a butterfly garden. There’ll be demonstrations on subjects including how to create your own rain garden, build a mini-beast hotel or plant up a garden pond; and some centres will even have gardener’s surgeries where a panel of experts – including renowned garden designer Dr Nigel Dunnett – will be on hand to answer all your gardening queries.

Visit www.wwt.org.uk/gardening for full details of all the events and activities at each WWT centre.

Events happening at WWT centres during the Festival of Gardening include:

WWT Arundel T 01903 881530 West Sussex

Medieval herbalist 10, 17, 24, 31 March

For centuries plants have given us food, medicine, shelter, fragrance and beauty. Learn more from our Medieval herbalist. 11am & 2pm

Wild about art – growing Sat 20 March

Get those creative juices flowing using natural materials. Create cress heads and other green fingered fun. £4.50pc. Children must be accompanied by an adult (1 free pc). 11-1pm.


WWT Caerlaverock T 01387 770200 Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Check in at the insect hotel

Advice on gardening for wildlife - check out our insect hotel in our sustainable garden


WWT Castle Espie T 028 9187 4146 County Down, Northern Ireland

Your garden Sat 5 & Sun 6 March

Discover plenty of tips from window boxes to allotments, growing food to eat, permaculture workshop and painting pots! 2-5pm.


WWT London T 020 8409 4400 Barnes

Pond planting Sat 26 & Sun 27 March

Free demonstration all about native plants for a natural pond and how ponds can be a real help to wildlife,11am-12 noon. Places limited. BE - call 020 8409 4400.

Gardening walk with a warden Sat 26 & Sun 27

March Tour taking in the highlights of the RBC Rain Garden: then discover a log garden where lizards bask and feed, and a nectar-rich garden for bees, butterflies and other insects. There’s also our bog garden – popular with newts and dragonflies. Our guide, Alwyn Craven, will give plenty of wildlife gardening ideas to try at home! 12.30-1.30pm.

Gardening for wildlife Sat 26 March

Our gardening expert Alwyn Craven will show you how you can easily provide homes and food for wildlife while still enjoying a beautiful garden. 2.30-3.30pm.

Clever composting Sat 26/Sun 27 March & Sat 2/Sun 3 April

Special talk on how compost heaps work, and are an eco-friendly, money-saving garden tradition providing fertile soil and a warm nutrient-rich refuge for small creatures. 4-4.30pm.

Ask the gardeners Sun 27 March

Get answers to your green gardening questions from some of the UK’s leading gardeners. Including Dr Nigel Dunnett, creator of the RBC Rain Garden; Channel 4’s The Landscape Man, Matthew Wilson, and our own Kew-trained gardening expert Alwyn Craven, plus Lesley Mair from Barn Elms Allotments Society (BEAS) and Anne Gatti, columnist for The English Garden magazine. 2.30 - 3.30pm. £6pp. BE call 020 8409 4400.

Gardening guru, author and TV presenter Gay Search will be giving her top garden tips in a talk at WWT London Wetland Centre. Sun 3 April. Tickets are £6, please call 020 8409 4400 for details.


WWT Martin Mere T 01704 895181 Lancashire

Festival of gardening All month

Discover tips at special talks, learn how to create a log pile, tour our eco-garden to find out what you can do at home to create a sustainable garden and take part in a variety of family activities all month. Learn how the beavers are natural gardeners - 11am & 2pm. See our wormery, ants nest and learn how to

identify different types of soil. Weekend family crafts including make seed pots out of newspaper and a free art competition. Make Mini-gardens and help us to make a bug hotel. 1-4pm

Eco-festival Sat 19 & Sun 20 March

Talks, family activities amd family crafts - help us create a bug hotel, make minigardens, help us plant in Edwood and help create a wildflower area, discover different types of root systems when we dig things up. All day - Den building. See how slow you can ride a bike in the slow cycle competition Browse the eco-stalls and buy local produce.


WWT National Wetland Centre, Wales T 01554 741087 Carmarthenshire

Attracting wildlife to your garden Sat 19/Sun 20 & Sat 26/Sun 27 March

A chance to make insect hotels, habitat piles, bird/butterfly feeders. Activities for all the family. 2pm.


WWT Slimbridge T 01453 891900 Gloucestershire

Good pond; bad pond Sat 19 March & Sun 20 March

See examples of how to create a good wildlife pond and what a poor one looks like in this interesting and educational display in our foyer. Chat to our horticulture team for the best tips.

Activities for children

Themed arts & crafts sessions: make a butterfly, dragonfly, ladybird or frog. Make a plant pal or a bug hotel, have a go at a virtual pond dip.Paint a pot - take it home and watch your plant grow. £3 a pot (compost and seeds provided).


WWT Washington T 0191 416 5454 Tyne & Wear

Festival of gardening Every weekend in March

Our expert wardens and education team will be hosting a series of guided walks, workshops and craft sessions.


WWT Welney T 01353 860711 Norfolk

Jane Frost willow workshop Fri 11/Sat 12 & Fri 25/Sat 26 March

Make simple structures using a variety of techniques combining weaving, wrapping and braiding. £55 pp, plus £20 for basic materials. 10am-4pm. BE with a deposit required in advance. Contact Jane Frost on

01353 861944 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


(BE - booking essential. pc/pp - per child / per person)


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