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 we are possibly the only horticultural company of this kind in the UK!
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 - 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.
Pollinator-friendly 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 the Gardener's World team and all the famous & celebrated flower shows in the country - everyone is talking about the importance of saving the bees and butterflies. Donna was one of the first to recognise this declining trend about 15 years ago when she developed Enchanted Gardens as a dedicated nursery, which is based on her 25 year experience as a professional gardener. It is her lifelong obsession to help nature and by using her love and immense knowledge of the subject, she is drawn to slightly evolutionary differences between original plant species and grows only flowers that have the most amount of pollen and nectar available for insects. Sadly, within the industry these two vital ingredients for life on our planet have been forgotten in favour of profit and fashion.
Donna is also famous for having rare and unusual plants in her garden, which were, and broadly are still not grown and are not available in the UK. She teaches from her home and offers various half-day courses in pollinator-friendly gardening practices. She is attached to the Kent Wildlife Trust, who manages the beautiful Wraik Hill nature reserve opposite her house. She has recently won a Silver Gilt + Special Award for her efforts presented by the scheme Wild About Gardens. Furthermore, there are interactions with the Kent Field Club - the natural history society of Kent - as well as The Wildwood Trust in Canterbury, where she will hold lectures on the subject of conservation later in the year.
Furthermore, there are potential collaborations planned with The National Pollinator Strategy (NPS), which is a cooperation between Government and other organisations to protect the future of pollinators. There is also talk of potentially getting enlisted in the Royal Horticulture Society's (RHS) list of organic nurseries. Donna usually attends the Kent Garden Show in Detling every year, which is judged by a Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower Show judge, who awarded her various Gold, Silver Gilt and Platinum awards over the years.
One of the biggest problems for pollinators is a lack of flowering plants, especially those packed with pollen and nectar, so we like to encourage gardeners to grow more of them. At Enchanted Gardens we grow and sell about 140 different varieties that provide you with just that. They are mostly perennials and are produced directly from seed. We realize that there is a need and a strong interest for conservation issues in the Zeitgeist and the public seems keen to get involved. Remember, your garden is a mini nature-reserve! We have therefore decided to create a unique ‘Environmental Health Care Pack’ for people locking to offset their carbon footprint.
There will be about 35 different varieties in this pack that are hugely beneficial for all three species, i.e. the bees, butterflies and bats and we highly recommend trying it out! Some of them are: Asphodeline - Aster - Agastache - Ascelepias - Buddleya - Cardoon - Campanula - Centaurea - Calamintha - Cosmos - Cerinthe - Digitalis - Eryngium - Echinops -... Eupatorium - Erysimum - Evening Primrose - Fennel - Honesty - Helianthus - Hollyhock - Knautia Macedonia - Pulmanaria - Nepeta - Leucanthemum - Rudbekia - Salvia - Scabious - Sedum - Stachys - Telekia - Sorrel - Sopanaria - Verbena - Veronica.
Start a garden, however small
Fill this area with the best possible plants that pollinators love!
Build a pond, or provide water for insects
Let parts of your garden grow wild. Introduce wildflowers!
Avoid using pesticides wherever possible
Provide nest sites (bug hotels) and don’t disturb them!
Most of our plants are £ 7.50, but we are working on a sensible price for this package, which will include a small bug hotel. It will probably be around £ 250, or approx. £ 100 for 15 plants plus bug hotel to encourage people to help mother nature and do their bit for the environment. We do have habitats for bumblebees, honey bees, butterflies, bats and birds...as well as large bespoke bug hotels! (image left)
We are also in the process of creating a dedicated Wildflower Meadow, as well as collecting the seeds from this year's wildflowers. As a brand-new project this will include some irresistible bee magnets, like Echiums and Elder-leaved Figwort (Scophularia Sambucifiola). This special seed mixed will be called 'Enchanted Seeds', which people can order online, or pick up directly from the nursery.
We strongly believe that if enough individuals sow enough bee & butterfly-friendly seeds and set up a small wildlife sanctuary in their gardens - it will make a huge difference for our declining insect population.
The BBC Radio Kent and the BBC South Today have both interviewed Donna earlier this year and broadcasted a News item on the discovery of the rare Shrill Carder Bee on national television. www.enchantedgardenskent.co.uk/2019/05/02/rarest-bee-in-britain-found-at-enchanted-gardens. This particular bee is on the endangered list, which is why such a fuss has been made about it.
And finally... because our garden is so special, we were given two whole weekends in aid of the National Open Garden Scheme (NGS) which collects money for various caring charities. The first open weekend was on 8th and 9th June and the next one is coming up on 28th and 29th September 2019. So come down and visit us then. We look forward meeting you!