03:00PM, Saturday 28 November 2020
Environmentally friendly gardeners were in the spotlight as the latest Wild About Gardens Award winners received their 2020 certificates.
The Wild About Gardens Awards, by WildCookham, aims to help people value the contribution of wildlife in their gardens.
Since the scheme was set up in 2018, more than 100 Cookham gardens have joined in, as well as about 50 more in Maidenhead.
The awards are based on a total of 24 criteria, reflecting the needs of wildlife for shelter, food and water as well as a non-threatening habitat.
The 2020 winners were decided in October with the certificates sent out this month. There were 34 new award winners across all three levels.
Around 50 gardens have now achieved gold standard, meaning they have met 12 of the 24 criteria. Nineteen of this year’s award winners reached the gold.
One of the Cookham organisers, Pam Campin, said: “Many more people have come to appreciate their gardens and the value of nature during the current difficult time.
“It’s been a great opportunity for families to learn more about the wildlife in our community and to do something practical to protect it.”
Lynne Peperell, another of the organisers and a member of the WildCookham committee, points to the accelerating loss of natural habitats and the drastic impact this is having on many species of animals and plants.
She said: “Private gardens form around 10 per cent of all the land in the Royal Borough so gardeners can make a big impact. The more we can create animal corridors, the better, so we’ll be working hard to encourage even more local people to do their bit next year.”
WildCookham encourages everyone with a garden to leave plants, seeds, woodpiles and other features for animals this year.
“Don’t clear everything away,” Lynne said. “Leaving some scruffiness will be doing our animal friends a big favour.”
The 2021 Awards will be announced next March. Meanwhile, ideas for wild gardeners can be found at www.wildcookham.org.uk
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