The natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales is providing the inspiration for a show garden at this year’s BBC Gardener’s World Live.
Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), a charity based in the Yorkshire Dales, has teamed up with Chris Myers, a local award-winning garden designer and presenter of Channel 4 TV series Wild Things, to produce a wild and natural garden that shows off some of the most precious and iconic elements of the Yorkshire Dales landscape.
The garden will include a mini wildflower hay meadow, a dry stone wall and a field barn, all set against the backdrop of a broadleaf woodland and native hedgerow to depict the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside and some of the important natural wildlife habitats that can be found in God’s own country.
These key elements of the garden design perfectly illustrate some of the charitable projects undertaken by YDMT, including restoring wildflower hay meadows, creating more native broadleaf woodlands, and encouraging people to experience the health and well-being benefits of being outdoors in the countryside.
Chris said, “I’m really lucky to have the inspirational Yorkshire Dales on my doorstep, and it’s great to be able to give something back to the region by using my garden design experience to create a show garden that encapsulates some of the important work the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust does to protect and enhance this special part of the world. I hope the garden will highlight just how beautiful Mother Nature’s creations can be, and that it may encourage people to consider planting a wildflower area in their own garden to support their local pollinating insects.”
Many gardeners will be aware of the plight of bumblebees and other pollinators, and their reliance on nectar-rich flowers. Wildflower hay meadows are perhaps one of the most complex and important habitats in Britain for our pollinators, along with a wide variety of other wildlife including some rare species like the brown hare, moss carder bumblebee and flowers like wood crane’s-bill.
Unfortunately, over the last fifty years, ninety-seven per cent of wildflower hay meadows in the UK have been lost, making them one of the most threatened habitats in Britain. Through the Hay Time project YDMT aims to work with local farmers to help protect the remaining few meadows in the Yorkshire Dales and to restore the botanical diversity of meadows that have lost their wildlife value.
Chris Myers is an ambassador of YDMT’s Hay Time Appeal – an initiative launched earlier this year by the Trust in a bid to raise £150,000 to fund a three-year campaign to safeguard the few hay meadows that remain, restore degraded meadows, and raise awareness about the importance of this precious habitat.
YDMT’s Hay Time Project Manager, Don Gamble said: “We’re really excited to be working with Chris on the Gardener’s World Live show garden, and we hope that our little taste of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales landscape will capture the imagination and attention of both the judges and the public. We’re also passionate about raising awareness of the critical situation currently facing wildflower hay meadows and the urgent need to take action before they are lost forever, and hope that we can achieve this with Chris’s expert help.”
Read much more about the hay meadows of Yorkshire in the June edition of Dalesman.