Wildlife Gardening – RHS Medal Award – ‘A Bonnie Burn’ Show Garden


In 2006 Swindon Garden Designer Jill Blackwood created ‘A Bonnie Burn’ wild garden for the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Malvern Spring Gardening Show.  The garden was designed by Jill to illustrate the importance of encouraging and nurturing our native wildlife through wildlife gardening.  The show garden was constructed by Big Fish Landscapes Ltd and included a natural stone water feature with a waterfall and a gentle stream constructed using glacial boulders nestled in an undulating wildflower meadow.   Native trees and shrubs surrounded  the water feature and the garden which even included a stumpery.  The show garden was featured on BBCs Gardeners World Programme

As the plight of our wildlife continues and the  numbers of bees, butterflies and other insects dwindling, we are all becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the environment.  Thankfully many of us are starting to look for ways to improve matters.  Wildlife gardening is essential.   Jill felt and continues to feel that we could all ‘do our bit’ and that any garden can include some or all of the key elements that will help to create a sanctuary for our wildlife.  Any garden can include an area of native wildflowers which will provide a ‘nectar bar’ for bees and other insects to feed on.  A water feature, however small, can provide water for animal such as hedgehogs and a huge variety of insect and birds to drink.  If you have room, a larger natural stone water feature can provide a habitat for pond dwellers like toads and frogs.

Creating biodiversity in our gardens is not difficult.  Thoughtful garden design can easily include all the elements our wildlife needs to thrive.  Native trees like birch, hawthorn and rowan will provide safe nesting and food and shelter for birds. The birds and other wildlife will come to the garden to feed on the insects and drink the water. Animal shelters, insect homes, birds boxes or simply a pile of rotting logs will provide shelter and hibernation areas for bees and other insects, along with birds and small mammals like hedgehogs that come to feed and drink. This can all be achieved in a relatively small area that could fit in a quiet corner of most gardens. Even with the tiniest back or front garden we can all play a part in the crucial task of nurturing our wildlife.

As we all become increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, creating a mini eco system within our gardens will help to attract and maintain wildlife, preserving biodiversity and helping to provide wildlife corridors in our towns and cities.









On completion of the project the client wrote to Jill “I am very pleased with the total transformation of what was a mud patch full of weeds into something of beauty. The team has worked hard to create a wonderful space. It is now pretty much what I had in mind when we first discussed the project but the reality is more pleasing than I anticipated. I am looking forward to seeing the planting when it has had time to establish and develop. It is already a place of joy and relaxation instead of the headache it was before.”

Jill continues to create and plant gardens of all styles, shapes and sizes and believes that we must all get involved to save our wildlife and that even a small pot of plants on a balcony in a city centre will help to sustain our wildlife.

garden design Swindon, Cirencester, Marlborough, Faringdon, Fairford, Malmesbury