Our 2023 Theme for our Main Competition and our Guildford Schools in Bloom.
Following on from our 2022 theme of The Queen's Platinum Jubilee it would have been easy to just pick The Coronation of King Charles III for 2023 - but when we thought about it, we felt we would have seen a repeat of last year - so we looked deeper for something to add to it.
Yes, we want to see references to the Coronation, but we want more to qualify for a themed entry. We all know that King Charles III has demonstrated a lifelong love and fascination with nature conservation. We also know that all our insects and pollinators are in severe decline which will have disastrous consequences to our environment - wild mammals like hedgehogs are becoming endangered. So, we thought about how we could include an element to the theme that would make a difference.
In a conversation we had last year with Surrey Wildlife Trust we learned that the big nature conservation projects do make a difference to numbers of insects and mammals - but also learned that there will not be a reversal of the decline until everyone did a little bit! So, the idea For King and Countryside was born - to encourage everyone to do at least a little bit - all over Guildford.
For plots and gardens to qualify to enter a themed garden, they can create references to the Coronation using colour and design but then must include a minimum of five features from a list of ideas beneficial to wildlife that includes: a nectar café, bug hotel or log pile, Bee B&B, bird bath, pond, bird feeder, bird house, hedgehog house, be part of a hedgehog corridor or a wildflower area. Gardens that include all of these are encouraged to also enter the Wildlife Garden category. Additional points will also be awarded for peat free plots and gardens, and no single use plastic unless it is being recycled or reused.
To qualify for a Themed Garden Award – and for the Schools in Bloom competition you can include any interpretation of the Coronation but must also include (5) of the following (10) features.
A Nectar Café – plants for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators
Bug Hotel or log pile
Water Source for birds and wildlife – it must include stones so insects can climb out
Be part of a Hedgehog Highway
We will also be looking for a plastic free environment unless the plastic item is being recycled i.e. milk bottles used as planters, plastic cloches, poly tunnels etc. Additional points are given for Peat Free Gardens
Our Competition launches on 14 February when you will be able to download your entry form from our Competition Pages. Entries must be received by 18 June 2023
Our sincere hope is that these wildlife areas will be cared for going into the future and remain as small havens for pollinators and mammals for many years to come. Wouldn't it be fantastic if audits of Guildford wildlife showed no decline at all - or even an increase in the population - maybe it's possible if we all do a little bit!
And of course none of this would be possible without the incredible support of our Premium Sponsor Chapters Financial