Competition Time: Win RHS Membership :)

The UN has declared 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) and as part of its programme of awareness raising, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is teaming up with an number of bloggers to offer a competition with RHS membership as its prize :)

Concern about biodiversity isn't new as far as the RHS is concerned and it's one of the main reasons why I value it as an organisation. As pressure on our countryside is set to increase over the coming years, the role we gardeners can play in the conservation of wildlife and the preservation of its diversity is immense.

In a recent survey conducted by the RHS, 95% of gardeners saw themselves as 'stewards of the environment' and 96% said this was an important area of research for the RHS to do. Their recently revamped website now has a large section dedicated to Biodiversity and the gardener which outlines what the RHS is doing and also providing practical ideas, hints and tips on how we might all garden for wildlife.

All the RHS gardens will be running special trails on 22nd May as part of International Day for Biological Diversity, then the week after at Chelsea Flower Show the RHS Advisory Team will have the RHS Biodiversity Display (see above - picture courtesy of the RHS) as part of the Continuous Learning section in the Grand Marquee. This will show different ideas for planting combinations, and experts will be on hand to give practical advice.

If you can't make any of these events, then it's worth checking out the Biodiversity and the gardener link above, or visiting the Wild About Gardens website for lots more information and ideas for your garden. The latter is a collaboration between the RHS and the Wildlife Trusts: I've signed up for their email newsletter and get a monthly dose of timely ideas for encouraging wildlife into my garden. You may also like to read about my general approach to wildlife gardening here.

After that preamble, it's now time for the all important Competition!

All you have to do is email me (vegplotting at gmail dot com) a photograph demonstrating biodiversity in your garden, and a short description of no more than 100 words on how you encourage it. A winner will be chosen shortly after the closing date of Sunday 9th May. I'm hoping to rope in NAH as my independent judge, though he doesn't know it yet.

The RHS are kindly offering a prize of RHS membership for one year (worth £43) to the winner. Benefits of membership include free entry to RHS gardens (if you’re lucky enough to have one near you), free access to over 140 RHS recommended gardens (so a much better chance of finding something close to where you live - I used my membership to visit Westonbirt Arboretum last week, for instance), 12 issues of The Garden magazine, and free access to expert horticultural advice.

I'll announce the winner here ASAP after the closing date and the winner's photo may be posted on the RHS website. The judge's decision is final. The winner will receive one year's free membership of the RHS. Open to UK residents only.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing all your entries!


  1. Ooooh-can I try? I will wander about looking for a suitably biodiverse angle here on Spideracres this weekend.And pot you up some sweet violets. Have a good weekend.

  2. I shall have to send you some photos of my 'proper' garden in Wales.

    But in the meantime I saw three different butterflies today Brimstone, Orange Tip and Peacock; this brings my total to four for the year (I have also seen a small tortoiseshell that hibernated in our shed). I would be interested if anyone has seen anything different in and around Chippenham, and will keep a list as the year progresses.

  3. Hi VP, hope you don't mind - I've linked to your competition over on my blog.

  4. Hi VP its Rosie here. I would love to enter but do I need to send you something different this time from what I did on Happy Mouffetard's blog?

  5. Oooh! Wish I could participate! Thanks for your comment on my blog. I've actually been here for nearly 25 years, but I still miss Bath (at one point, I worked for Harvest, the wholefood store on Walcot St, but it was on Lansdown Rd at the time). Any Bath (and Chippenham!)bloggers are welcome to visit me in Miami. Best, Penny.

  6. TS - of course you can - look forward to seeing what you come up with :)

    Mark - ooh that'll be grand! My butterfly count over the weekend was the same as yours. I've yet to see the small tortoiseshell though

    HM - that's great, thanks :)

    Rosie - I've not seen your entry, so I'll leave it up to your conscience

    Penny - welcome! I'm a Harvest regular! Our time down here must have overlapped slighty as I've been down here just over 26 years. One of the Bath Bloggers (My Tiny Plot) has just come back from Miami

  7. Hello VP,
    I noticed that you popped a comment on the similar comp on Down on the Allotment saying you had no entries. It's probably quite difficult as I have noticed the same comp on lots of blogs and many ask for a photo as you do but to be honest it is really difficult to show biodiversity using just one photograph.

    I've written a feature of how we try to encourage biodiversity on our plot and in our garden on my website and used 54 photos to demonstrate!!

  8. Green Lane Allotments - thanks for your feedback, I'll pass that on to the RHS as I followed their suggested format for the competition. Matron has modified her version of it to just be the comment part.

    You'll see from my post I chose to represent biodiversity in quite a simple way by showing something I'm using to attract beneficial insects to stay in my garden. If I showed the whole biodiversity, then I'd be like you - needing 50+ photographs!

  9. Cool site, I hadn't come across earlier during my searches!
    Carry on the excellent work!


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