Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre, is announcing its support for national conservation charity, The Red Squirrel Survival Trust, ahead of Red Squirrel Awareness Week (2-8 October).
Dobbies are partnering to raise awareness of this endangered species at the free-to-attend Grow How session in Swindon, sharing advice on how everyone can create an inviting habitat for the red squirrel on Saturday 7 October at 10:30am.
Spotting a red squirrel is a rarity. According to the UK Squirrel Accord the population has fallen from a high of around 3.5m in the UK, to the current estimate of 287,000. Around 75% of the population are found in Scotland. In a bid to protect the biodiversity of Britain’s native woodlands, Dobbies and the Trust are highlighting the trees and plants that gardeners can grow in their outside space, to encourage and support red squirrels.
Grow How attendees in Swindon will learn all about these small agile animals, known for their fiery red coat, distinctive ear tufts and a bushy brown tail, and gain an understanding of the vital role they play in the ecosystem by spreading and regenerating tree species in native forestry and dispersing several species of fungi.
Autumn is a great season to spot red squirrels, and sightings often happen in mixed or broadleaf woodlands as these make for brilliant habitats. Dobbies’ horticultural experts will outline the best trees and plants to have in the garden and what can be done to encourage this creature to visit. Walnut, hazelnut and holly trees are excellent food sources for red squirrels, and sunflower seeds, bramble and raspberry plants provide the creatures with an abundance of nutrients. These products can be purchased from Swindon.
Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, is eager to help the nation create a safe environment for the species to thrive. He said: “It’s important that our gardens provide a welcome home to a vast variety of wildlife, and there’s been a real emphasis on creating wildlife friendly areas, corridors, water and feeding zones to help protect a range of species.
“Red squirrels enjoy a natural food source which make for a great addition to your borders, beds and
planters. We hope this informal yet informative educational session provides our customers at Swindon with the knowledge they need to help us come together and make a real difference, starting with our gardens.”
In his capacity as an ambassador for the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, Alan Titchmarsh, Britain’s best loved gardener, is working to encourage gardeners to plant trees and shrubs which will help feed our native red squirrels.
“There are trees and shrubs suitable for gardens of all sizes and by planting them now they will grow and mature and be ready for when the reds squirrels come home,” says Alan. “A plentiful supply of appropriate food and fresh water is essential for the reds to breed. The most popular growing sources are walnuts, hazelnuts, conifer seeds, holly berries, crab apples, wild and bird cherries, Bullace, Dogrose and Guelder rose hips.”
The Red Squirrel Survival Trust Campaign Director, Vanessa Fawcett, is working with Dobbies to help make Alan’s recommendations available from their garden centres nationwide. She said: “It’s great to be partnering with Dobbies as we raise awareness of the declining population size of the red squirrel. There’s plenty we can do to nurture this animal and give it the best chance at survival, and I look forward to seeing the nation get involved this October.”
Get the whole family involved in Red Squirrel Awareness Week and head along to Dobbies’ free-to-attend Grow How session in Swindon. For more information about how to take part, visit Events | Dobbies Garden Centres
To find out more about the conservation work Red Squirrel Survival Trust is doing to protect this endangered species, visit www.rsst.org.uk
Be the first to comment on this article