This year's Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) Flower Show in Cardiff was a huge success for The Trust. It took place in Bute Park, Cardiff from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th April and attracted over 22,000 visitors throughout the weekend.
This year WTSWW's garden feature was woodland themed to raise awareness for local woodlands and the threats that they currently face. There has been a dramatic reduction in the area of ancient woodland in the UK and in Wales. Britain now has the lowest percentage cover of woodland in Europe. Much woodland has been replaced by coniferous plantation, converted to agricultural use, over-grazed, or lost to development. Most of our remaining ancient woodland is scattered in small fragments across the UK. Lack of management or neglect has also contributed to the decline. Our current Wild Woodlands Project is funded by WREN’s FCC Biodiversity Action Fund, which is rejuvenating management to some reserves that through lack of time needed attention to improve their condition, increase biodiversity and eradicate invasive non-native species.
Our staff and volunteers spoke to hundreds of people over the course of the weekend and even managed to raise some awareness for our Beaver reintroduction project in Wales. Hanc, our stuffed American Beaver, proved a huge hit with both children and adults.
Beavers are herbivorous and do not eat fish. They feed on aquatic plants, grasses and shrubs during the summer months and resort to more woody plants in winter. They will often cache food underwater near the lodge so that they can access it if the water freezes over.
In woodland environments, beavers help to diversify the woodland structure by coppicing larger trees, and stimulating regrowth. This helps to create a diverse age range of trees which greatly benefits woodland biodiversity.
This year's garden consisted of a fibreglass tree lent to us from the Woodland Trust along with a few troughs of saplings, a pond, a willow woven owl called Huuuuw by Out to Learn Willow, a bench made from materials sourced from one of the woodlands that the Trust manages in the Gower and a large wooden sign with moss covered letters spelling our 'The Wildlife Trust'. We also had a variety of different woodland plants and some realistic animal ornaments kindly lent to us from Pugh's Garden Centre, a willow woven screen with spotter sheets on it and holes to look through into the garden and hazel woven boarders. The garden was finished off with a woodland backdrop photograph taken on our nature reserve just outside of Cardiff; Coed Y Bedw. As well as all this there was also a buzz around our gazebo where we had a variety of merchandise up for grabs and showcased our incredible new 360 degree virtual reality experience; Dive with Dolphins and Fly like a Kingfisher!
We had endless compliments regarding our show feature this year and we were awarded the highest award available to us from the RHS producers; Highly Commended.
A big thank you goes out to all our supporters, staff and volunteers, people who helps make everything come together and donated materials, and especially to Chandler KBS for sponsoring part of our garden.
We can't wait for next year! See you there.