A family enjoying delightful spring flowersShani Lawrence created a practical, low maintenance Show Garden based on the size of a typical urban family garden, transformed into a place full of plants, wildlife and adventure.

It aimed to reassure people that it is achievable to make sustainable material choices, create a place for nature to flourish, a place for children to play and explore, and a place for adults to relax.

There was a children's den made from carbon neutral timber with a sedum roof, a wildlife fence with a number of habitats and a secret door, and an unusual, space-saving wildlife seating area – all among a flowing design of circles and curves.

The planting was chosen with pollinators and other wildlife in mind, with spring-flowering plants to coincide with the show. However the designer also wanted to emphasise that it is beneficial to have year-round flowering plants for wildlife.

Shani had never exhibited at Cardiff before, and realised a long-held ambition. 'It wass exciting,' she said. 'We had talked about it for a number of years. I really feel we need to be helping wildlife whenever we can. A garden like this encourages children to enjoy it and this one hopefully encouraged them to help conserve it in the future.'
 

Shani's tips for a wildlife friendly garden

'When looking for plants, visit the garden centre or nursery once a month to see what is in flower, ask the nursery staff if it's good for pollinators (it tends to be the plants with simple flowers), then you'll have plants for pollinators all the year round. Get a good book to identify what wildlife you already have. Also, have a source of water in your garden, especially in hot and dry weather.'

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