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Enchanted Gardens: Pollinator-Friendly Plant Nursery in Whitstable, Kent

Welcome to our new, organic nursery passionate about environmental protection and bio-diversity. We are a small operation specializing entirely in bee, butterfly, moth and bat-friendly plants and habitats - and are one of a very few horticultural companies of this kind.

As of March 2019 we are members of the national...

  • Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Butterfly Conservation Charity
  • RHS Royal Horticultural Society
  • Bat Conservation Trust
  • RSPB Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Donna

Donna - Director & owner of Enchanted Gardens

which all have at their heart a unique charitable vision to help restore neglected natural environments and create new vibrant areas for wildlife.

Award winning Kent garden designer Donna Richardson is right on the button with her grassroots activist work. From Sir David Attenborough, to BBC Springwatch's Chris Packham, to Gardener's World and all the famous and celebrated flower shows in the country - everyone is talking about the importance of saving the bees and the butterflies. Donna was one of the first to recognise this unfortunate trend of losing our insect population years ago, when she set out to develop Enchanted Gardens - a dedicated organic nursery, which sells mostly rare and unusual plants, which were, and broadly are still not grown and are not available in the UK. All of her flowers are selected for their huge amount of pollen and nectar, which sadly, within the industry have been forgotten in favour of profit and fashion.

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Donna teaches from her home in Seasalter, near Whitstable in Kent and offers various half-day Courses in Pollinator-Friendly Gardening.

Since introducing Enchanted Gardens officially to the public in early 2019, Donna has entertained groups from the RSPB, Mothers' Union, The WI (National Federation of Women's Institutes) and various other societies. She invites Photography Clubs to come down and capture the spectacular diversity of insects and flowers in her garden, and has planned interactions with the Kent Field Club (the natural history society of Kent), as well as The Wildwood Trust in Canterbury, where she will give lectures on the subject of wildlife conservation in the near future.

Donna is attached to the Kent Wildlife Trust, who manages the beautiful Wraik Hill nature reserve opposite her house and has recently won a Silver Gilt and a special Nature's Champion award from the scheme Wild About Gardens scheme for her efforts. She usually sells her plants at the Kent Garden Show in Detling every year, which is judged by Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower Show judge Jim Buttress, who awarded her various Gold, Silver Gilt and Platinum awards since 2014.

She says: "One of the biggest problems for pollinators is the loss of habitat, due to agricultural practices, urbanization and deforestation. Second is the increasing use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture worldwide and contamination with chemical pollutants of all kinds. So, I'd like to encourage all gardeners to grow more flowering plants, especially those packed full with pollen and nectar. Remember, your garden is a mini nature-reserve and if enough individuals set up a small wildlife sanctuary in their gardens - it will make a huge difference for our declining insect population. There is a need and an interest for conservation issues in the Zeitgeist. So it's time to get involved and give nature a helping hand."

Donna uses only bio-degradable carrier bags to give to her customers, as well as peat-free compost. She is the process of phasing out old-fashioned plastic labels, changing them into wooden ones and her plans are to introduce close to 100% bio-degradable planting pots next year. She would also like to invite local landscape gardeners to collaborate with her and use her plants for their individual wildlife-friendly design projects. She has recently put together a fabulous range of wildflower and pollinator-friendly seeds, called Enchanted Seeds, which can be picked up directly from the nursery  Tue - Fri from 10am - 3pm.

  1. Start a garden, however small
  2. Fill this area with the best possible plants that pollinators love!
  3. Build a pond, or provide water for insects
  4. Let parts of your garden grow wild. Introduce wildflowers!
  5. Avoid using pesticides wherever possible
  6. Provide nest sites (bug hotels) and don’t disturb them!

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Our seeds packets are just £ 1 and include some irresistible bee magnets plants, such as the unusual Elder-leaved Figwort, Campanula, Digitalis, Fennel, Hollyhock, Scabious, Verbena and others, which you can pick up directly from the nursery. We will also be offering monthly 'Pollinator Packs' from next spring onward. They will feature 10 (or more) of the best loved bee & butterfly-friendly plants. These packs will also include one, or two bug hotels.

Enchanted Gardens is part of the National Open Garden Scheme (NGS) which is collecting money for various caring charities. Our first two open weekends were on 8th & 9th June and again on 28th & 29th September 2019. The next one is coming up in 2020, so watch this space!

Both events were very popular and we even had an amazing Art Exhibition of powerful environmental work by the talented Sculptor & Silversmith Justin Gilday. For impressions of this show visit the link: www.enchantedgardenskent.co.uk/2019/09/29/art-exhibitions. More exhibitions are planned for next year.

BBC South Today and Radio Kent have both interviewed Donna earlier this year and broadcasted a news item on the discovery of the rare Shrill Carder Bee on national television. This particular bee is on the endangered list, which is why such a fuss has been made about it. It appears to be back from the brink now. www.enchantedgardenskent.co.uk/2019/05/02/rarest-bee-in-britain-found-at-enchanted-gardens

 

Donna has planned various arts and crafts courses for the winter months, as well as for next year. All events and workshops will be added to the page: www.facebook.com/EnchantedGardensKent .

 

And finally, Donna is available for Garden Makeover Projects, where she transforms any plot into a delightful pollinator haven. She is currently collaborating with Mencap in Margate, as well as Carers Cancer Support, a local charity who set up a pilot scheme with the aim of creating a restful garden for people that care for cancer patients. Here is a list of four specific perennials that you can purchase directly from the links below in order to donate to them. Please reference with #donate #dedicationgarden. You can either pay online and collect from our nursery to take to Natasha Sutton's garden project in Seasalter, or we will deliver it there for free.
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We normally sell our plants directly from the nursery, or through local flower shows, but you can now also buy them via our online shop! For purchases click on the relevant links below.