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Gardener’s World Meets Rewilding-An Urban Garden Transformation


As we face increasing urbanisation and loss of natural habitats, the concept of rewilding has never been more important. Rewilding, a progressive approach to conservation, involves letting nature take care of itself, enabling natural processes to shape land and sea, repair damaged ecosystems and restore degraded landscapes. In the context of urban gardens, rewilding can transform our small patches of green into thriving habitats for wildlife.

Gardener’s World, a long-standing and influential BBC programme, has been a guiding light for many gardeners across the UK. Its focus on sharing knowledge, promoting best practices, and inspiring gardeners aligns perfectly with the ethos of rewilding. The show’s exploration of diverse gardening styles and techniques, including rewilding, has encouraged many viewers to see their gardens in a new light.

So, what happens when Gardener’s World meets rewilding? Let’s delve into the transformation of an urban garden, inspired by the principles of rewilding and the guidance of Gardener’s World.

The Intersection of Gardener’s World and Rewilding

Gardener’s World, with its rich history of providing practical, trusted gardening advice, may seem worlds away from the wild and untamed ethos of rewilding. However, there’s a surprising amount of overlap between the two.

Applying Traditional Gardening Wisdom to Rewilding

Traditional gardening wisdom, such as understanding local soil conditions, selecting appropriate plants, and managing pests and diseases, is equally applicable to rewilding efforts. For instance, knowing your soil type, as often advised on Gardener’s World, can guide you in choosing native plants that will thrive in your garden’s conditions. Similarly, the show’s tips on encouraging beneficial insects can help in creating a balanced, self-regulating ecosystem in a rewilded garden.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Traditional Gardening and Rewilding

The potential for a symbiotic relationship between traditional gardening and rewilding is immense. While rewilding can benefit from the horticultural knowledge and skills honed by traditional gardening, Gardener’s World and its viewers can draw inspiration from the wild beauty and ecological richness of rewilded gardens. This intersection of Gardener’s World and rewilding is where our urban garden transformation begins.

A Personal Journey of Transformation

Embarking on a journey to transform an urban garden into a haven for wildlife is a deeply personal and rewarding experience. Drawing inspiration from both Gardener’s World and the principles of rewilding, we embarked on our own journey of transformation.

The Transformation Process: Challenges and Solutions

The transformation process was not without its challenges. One of the first hurdles was reconciling the manicured aesthetics often promoted on Gardener’s World with the wild and untamed beauty of rewilding. Striking a balance between aesthetics and biodiversity became a key focus of the transformation.

Choosing the right plants was another challenge. While Gardener’s World offers a wealth of advice on plant selection, rewilding required a focus on native species that could support local wildlife. Resources such as the Royal Horticultural Society’s plant finder were invaluable in this process.

Despite these challenges, the transformation process was also filled with discovery and joy. Seeing the garden come alive with wildlife was a powerful affirmation of the benefits of rewilding. The sight of bees buzzing around wildflowers, birds nesting in native shrubs, and butterflies flitting through the garden was a testament to the power of rewilding.

In the end, the journey of transforming an urban garden using principles from Gardener’s World and rewilding was not just about creating a wildlife-friendly space. It was also a journey of personal growth and a deeper understanding of our connection with nature.

The Results of the Transformation

The transformation of an urban garden into a rewilded haven brings about a multitude of positive outcomes. One of the most significant results is the noticeable increase in biodiversity. The introduction of native plants and the creation of various habitats attract a wide array of wildlife, from birds and bees to butterflies and hedgehogs. This not only contributes to local conservation efforts but also enhances the overall health and resilience of the garden.


Gardener's World
Personal Benefits and Connection with Nature

Personal Benefits and Connection with Nature

Beyond the environmental benefits, the transformation process also yields profound personal rewards. One of the most meaningful is the deepened connection with nature. Immersing oneself in the process of rewilding, observing the changes in the garden, and interacting with its new inhabitants all foster a sense of belonging and connection with the natural world.

Moreover, numerous studies, such as those referenced on the Mental Health Foundation’s website, have highlighted the positive impact of nature on mental well-being. The act of gardening itself can be therapeutic, while the increased exposure to nature can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance overall mental health. In this way, the rewilding of an urban garden can serve as a sanctuary, not just for wildlife, but for the gardener as well.

Lessons Learned from the Transformation

Embarking on a journey of rewilding an urban garden is a learning experience filled with valuable insights. One of the key lessons learned from this transformation is the importance of patience. Nature works in its own time, and it’s essential to allow the garden to evolve at its own pace. The process you might start by introducing native plant species will be enhanced by the birds and animals attracted carrying seeds of other species in.

Another lesson is the value of observation. Spending time observing the garden and its inhabitants can provide crucial information about what works and what doesn’t, helping to guide future decisions and actions.

Practical Tips for Your Own Rewilding Journey

For readers inspired to embark on their own rewilding journey, here are a few practical tips:

  1. Start small: You don’t need to transform your entire garden at once. Start with a small area or a single project, such as creating a log pile habitat or planting a native flower bed. Or use a balcony or patio with potted plants.
  2. Choose native plants: Native plants are adapted to your local conditions and are more likely to thrive. They also provide the best support for local wildlife.
  3. Create a variety of habitats: Different wildlife species have different habitat needs. By creating a variety of habitats in your garden, you can attract a wider range of wildlife.
  4. Avoid chemicals: Pesticides and herbicides can harm wildlife and disrupt ecosystems. Opt for organic and natural gardening methods instead.
  5. Provide food and water: Adding bird feeders, bird baths, and other sources of food and water can help attract wildlife to your garden.

For more detailed advice and guidance, check out the Urban Wild Garden’s guide on how to build an urban wild garden.

The Future of Gardening: A Blend of Tradition and Rewilding

As we look to the future, it’s clear that gardening is evolving. The traditional practices championed by programmes like Gardener’s World are being enriched by the principles of rewilding, creating a more holistic approach to gardening that benefits both people and wildlife.

This blend of tradition and rewilding recognises the value of time-honoured gardening practices while also acknowledging the importance of biodiversity and ecological health. It’s about creating beautiful gardens that are also thriving ecosystems, places where people and nature can coexist harmoniously.

The Role of Gardener’s World in Promoting Rewilding

Programmes like Gardener’s World have a significant role to play in this evolution. With their wide reach and influence, they have the power to introduce the concept of rewilding to a broad audience and demonstrate its benefits in a practical, accessible way.

By featuring rewilding projects and providing advice on how to incorporate rewilding principles into traditional gardening, Gardener’s World can help to normalise rewilding and make it a mainstream part of gardening culture.

In this way, we can hope to see more and more urban wild gardens springing up, contributing to biodiversity, improving ecological health, and enriching our connection with nature. For more insights into the future of rewilding, check out this blog post on the incredible power and influence of urban wildlife gardening.


Our journey through the transformation of an urban garden, guided by the wisdom of Gardener’s World and the principles of rewilding, has shown us the incredible potential that lies in our own backyards. We’ve seen how a traditional garden can be transformed into a thriving natural ecosystem, a place of beauty that also supports biodiversity and contributes to ecological health.

But perhaps the most important lesson is that this transformation is within reach for all of us. Whether you have a small urban plot or a larger suburban garden, you can embrace the principles of rewilding and create your own urban wild garden. It’s a journey that requires patience and perseverance, but the rewards – for you, for wildlife, and for the environment – are well worth the effort.

So why not take the first step on your own rewilding journey? Start small, perhaps by planting some native species or creating a modest habitat for local wildlife. And remember, every garden counts in the rewilding revolution. Your garden, no matter how small, can make a difference. For more inspiration and practical advice, check out this guide on how to build an urban wild garden. Happy gardening!

Further Reading

If you’re inspired to learn more about rewilding and sustainable gardening, there are plenty of resources available to help you on your journey. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Rewilding An Urban Garden: An Illustrated Diary of Nature’s Year: This beautifully illustrated book by Gerry Maguire Thompson offers a year-long journey through a rewilded urban garden, filled with enchanting storytelling, quirky humour, and useful ideas.
  2. What is an Urban Wild Garden?: This blog post on Urban Wild Garden provides a detailed introduction to the concept of an urban wild garden and its benefits.
  3. How to Build an Urban Wild Garden: This comprehensive guide offers practical advice and steps to start your own urban wild garden.
  4. Rewilding Britain: This organisation is at the forefront of the rewilding movement in the UK, and their website offers a wealth of information and resources.
  5. Gardener’s World: The official website of the BBC programme offers a vast array of gardening advice, tips, and inspiration.

Remember, the journey to rewilding your garden is a personal one. Take your time, enjoy the process, and watch as your garden transforms into a haven for local wildlife. Happy rewilding!

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Urban Wild Garden is the website and brand for the book, “Wilding the Urban Garden: An Illustrated Diary of Nature’s Year” by Gerry Maguire Thompson

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