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The Wildlife Trusts: Wilder Spaces

Designer: Jamie Langlands, lead designer at Oxford Garden Design

Sponsor: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and Future Nature WTC, the Trust’s ecological consultancy.

Gold Medal Winner

Best Show Garden

Best Construction Award

People’s Choice Best Show Garden Award

‘Wilder Spaces’ is set to take wildlife-friendly gardening to a new level.

Jamie Langlands, lead designer from Oxford Garden Design, will create a garden that’s beautiful to behold and great for the natural world, with its structure, topography, materials and planting playing a fundamental role in increasing biodiversity for people and nature.

Visitors will be able to see how wildlife habitats can be designed into the structure of a garden, using building waste, reclaimed material and untreated timbers.

There will be a watercourse that meanders through the plot towards a central pond and a section of bog planting. A pavilion, designed in conjunction with Charlie Luxton, is to be constructed from reclaimed RSJs (rolled steel joists) and galvanised steel grating and topped with a living roof to provide a calm space to enjoy the diverse species living in the garden’s varied habitats.

Jamie will be using cultivated plants to provide pollen and nectar for insects and native plants that feed the larvae of butterflies, moths and other invertebrates. Key species will include hawthorn, ivy, nettles, blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris).

Trees, shrubs and perennials are being supplied by Hortus Loci and Jamie will also be using nurseries that specialise in native species.

Wilder Spaces is sponsored by The Wildlife Trusts, led by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and Future Nature WTC, BBOWT’s ecological consultancy. These organisations believe gardening has a place in helping nature into recovery and sees significant and lasting value both to wildlife and people.

“Nature is in crisis and not enough is being done to reverse this terrible decline in the UK’s biodiversity,” says Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive of BBOWT.

“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, so they are key to helping create more nature everywhere.”

Collectively, gardens are an enormous resource for wildlife, offering a mosaic of mini-habitats that support a diverse range of species.

“We want to see habitats designed into the fabric of buildings and the structure of gardens and features within them, in ways that support a huge range of species,” says Estelle.

“Wilder Spaces will show that any garden can have wildlife habitats at its heart, with recycled materials and nature-friendly planting, yet still be beautiful to look at and provide relaxing spaces in which to spend time.

“We believe that 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.”

Sheena Marsh, owner and founder of Oxford Garden Design, which is providing the design and construction of the garden says, “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.”

Oxford Garden Design, with Jamie as designer, is returning to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival following its 2022 show garden.

Jamie has been interested in horticulture from an early age, with both his grandfather and mother firing his enthusiasm.

“Growing up in Dorset still influences my design style,” he says. “I love creating spaces that are wild and untamed whilst having a little wonder within them.”

Jamie studied fine art at Bournemouth Arts Institute, where he found himself predominantly painting landscapes and plants. This inspired him to study horticulture, completing his Royal Horticultural Society and National Certificate of Horticulture qualifications at Kingston Maurward College before becoming a garden designer.

“Having the opportunity to work with the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust gives us the opportunity to showcase the amazing work they are doing improving the biodiversity and ecology within the local area. It also offers us the opportunity to showcase how to improve wildlife habitats within visitors’ own gardens,” he says.

Once the RHS Malvern Spring Festival is over, the garden will be distributed across various Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust sites and the seating will go to College Lake or Sutton Courtenay Education Centre Wildlife Gardens.

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