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Hawthorns Wildlife Garden

When the Hawthorns Urban wildlife Centre was built, the grounds contained an area set out as a wildlife garden to demonstrate and encourage people to garden in a way that encouraged wildlife and biodiversity. Unfortunately, the area became rather neglected and lacked interpretation /  information on how to promote the wildlife potential of your own space, however small.

Copyright © Southampton Common Forum - 2021

Copyright © Southampton Common Forum - 2021

In late 2019, Council recognised the condition of the Hawthorns grounds and devised an action plan for its restoration. This includes redeveloping the wildlife garden area to “create an ornamental back garden with view to Hawthorns Volunteers undertaking works and maintenance, using ecology expertise fo species choice. Needs to be a garden that people can relate to and inspire them to garden more for biodiversity”. (Click on image for larger view). SCF volunteers started to help Hawthorns’ staff and volunteers to clear areas of the wildlife garden area to try to restore them before COVID-19 closed the Centre and greatly restricted volunteering opportunities.

SCC plan 2019.png

Thinking on gardening for wildlife has changed considerably in recent years -  a wildlife friendly garden absolutely does not need to be scruffy, overgrown and only containing native species.

 “Wildlife Gardens need not look unkempt, they can be just as neatly designed and ornamental as any other type of garden”

“An outdoor living Space which is attractive, functional and fun whilst simultaneously being great for wildlife.”

“Dispel the myth that a wildlife-friendly garden must resemble a neglected, unsightly and vergrown patch of wilderness”

Quotes from: Lavelle, C. and Lavelle, M. (2009) The Illustrated Practical Guide to Wildlife Gardening. Hermes House, London.

With this in mind, in 2020 SCF developed a proposal for redeveloping the garden area using SCF and Hawthorns volunteers and based on themes of:

And submitted a grant application to Council ‘s Community Chest scheme to fund  this. The full project design can be found here.

We were successful with the grant application but, with the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2020, we have been reluctant to claim a grant which we doubt we can deliver within a year of the award as we could not run volunteer workparties under the regulations. We remain committed to delivering the project at the earliest possible opportunity.

Watch this space!