visitors to RSPCA stapeley grange garden

The public are being invited to tour the RSPCA’s RHS Garden which has been relocated to the wildlife centre at Stapeley Grange in Nantwich.

The garden made its mark during the 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show at Kensington, where it achieved a silver-gilt medal from judges.

After the show the garden was transported in a major operation involving staff and volunteers to RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre, where it was rebuilt with all its flowers, trees and shrubs replanted in an area set aside as a community wildlife project.

Now the garden is being opened free of charge on every Saturday throughout May (10am – 1pm).

Award-winning landscape designer Martyn Wilson drew inspiration for its creation from walks in a native woodland with his dog as well as a visit to Stapeley Grange’s sister wildlife centre at West Hatch.

As a central feature he schemed in a watcher’s hide where volunteers can observe different species already making the garden their home.

The hide includes a green roof and ‘bee hotels’ to encourage pollinators to take residence.

There is a water feature made of recycled plastic, bird nesting boxes and dead hedges which provide a habitat for birds and insects.

stapeley grange award-winning garden

Its opening coincides with the RSPCA relaunching its Wildlife Friends scheme to enlist volunteers to undertake wildlife-friendly tasks in their gardens and communities.

The relocation saw five lorry-loads of displays, plants, trees and fittings transported from London to Cheshire.

After the plants were uplifted they were watered and cared for by Stapeley Grange’s maintenance and education teams, and Stapeley’s local volunteer gardening group, including Kath Bent and Janis Penance.

“I had been volunteering at Stapeley since November 2021 so when I was asked if I wanted to take part in the replanting of the garden I jumped at it,” said Kath, from Crewe.

“We had a big marquee on the field with around 4,000 plants.

“We set up a watering system because they arrived in the very hot fortnight last June.

“Then, under Martyn’s guidance, we got involved with the planting out. It has all been really inspiring and it’s given me ideas for my own garden.”

Janis Penance - RSPCA stapeley grange garden volunteer
Janis Penance

Fellow volunteer Janis, from Nantwich, said: “I read about the Chelsea Garden online and I came and had a look at an open day last Autumn.

“That inspired me to want to volunteer myself. I’ve worked in nurseries and gardens for 30 years and I hope I’ve been able to bring some of that knowledge to share.

“To see how it has grown and come together is fantastic and I know people are going to love coming here to visit.”

James Salmon - RSPCA stapeley grange
James Salmon

RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre Maintenance Manager James Salmon said: “Our volunteers have been key since we started the project.

“They have done the watering and helped with the manual work involved in moving the plants and trees.

“The volunteers have really embraced the work and the social side of things, while they have shown their common passion for wildlife, gardening and at the same time they have learnt about biodiversity.

“We hope the wildlife theme of our garden will inspire visitors to see what they can do in their own gardens.”

The RSPCA received funding from the charity Project Giving Back as one of its Gardens for Good Causes for the design and build of the garden.

A donation from the Samuel and Freda Parkinson Charitable Trust, made the relocation possible.

Trustees from the charity and supporters of the RSPCA joined Martyn and RSPCA Chief Executive Chris Sherwood at Stapeley for the launch event, which was also attended by staff and garden volunteers at Stapeley Grange.

During the day, school pupils from Wistaston Academy in Crewe enjoyed completing wildlife-friendly tasks under the supervision of the centre’s Education Team.

RSPCA Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre Manager Lee Stewart said: “Our RSPCA RHS Garden will be open every Saturday in May for the public to enjoy the space as the flowers bloom.

“Whether you’re an experienced gardener, a family looking for a day out or just a curious visitor then this is a great opportunity to spend time outdoors and learn how important it is to nurture wildlife.

“Our garden will be a fantastic feature at Stapeley Grange for years to come.

“Not only will it be a huge asset for our team, but it will be a joyful place for the local community to experience.

“The message we want to convey is if we take care of nature then nature will take care of us.”

The RSPCA RHS Garden will be open every Saturday in May from 10am to 1pm.

RSPCA team garden

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