Wildlife Gardening Champions

Wildlife Gardening Champions is an exciting new project we are running with huge support from our Wilder St Albans Officer Heidi Carruthers.

Our aim is to train 15 Wilderhood Watch volunteers to give expert advice on how to garden in a super wildlife friendly way. Residents who live either close by or on a Wilderhood Watch street will be able to invite a Wildlife Gardening Champion into their garden to give them practical ideas on how to help their local wildlife thrive.

All Wildlife Gardening Champions will be registered Wildlife Trust volunteers, and will have completed an RHS course in wildlife gardening, funded by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

Here are some of our Wildlife Gardening Champions clearing a large plot of land behind the George Street cafe in St Albans. We hope to turn this into a paradise for wildlife, honing our gardening skills in the process and creating an exemplar garden for future clients to view.

St Peter’s Church Buzz Stop

St Peter’s Gardeners have been very busy creating an amazing Buzz Stop in the churchyard directly behind St Peter’s Church. The garden has been planned specifically to create a haven for wildlife, and is full of mainly native pollinator-friendly plants, as well as a variety of habitats. It is now absolutely brimming with life and is a lovely place to go for a wander.

As you can see in these photos, borders have been planted with pollinator-friendly herbs and plants such as chives, comfrey, borage, foxgloves, daisies, forget-me-nots, wild geraniums and red valerian.

The grass has been left to grow in places, allowing cow parsley and ox-eye daisies to bloom. Combined with mowed paths through the meadow to give definition, the effect is truly stunning!

Bumblebee collecting nectar from comfrey

We are slowly trying to replace some of our green alkanet (which although extremely bee-friendly, does tend to take over!) with other pollinator-friendly plants. If you have any cuttings or seedlings from your garden you’d like to swap for something of ours, please get in touch!

Also, if you would like to volunteer to do some gardening with the group on Tuesday mornings please contact us

Butternut squash and harissa soup


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 litre boiling vegetable stock (use vegan bouillon powder)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon harissa (rose harissa if you have it)
  • 1 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
  • Drizzle of tahini, to garnish


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius. Place the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions, carrot, garlic, ginger and oil in a baking tray and mix well. Cook on a middle shelf in the oven for 45min.

Transfer the roasted veg to a large pan, then pour in the stock and add the harissa. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10min. Leave to cool slightly before blitzing to a smooth consistency.

Stir through the chickpeas and allow to heat through. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.

Serve with fresh coriander, a drizzle of tahini and extra harissa, if liked.

Adapted from a recipe from Cook Slow by Dean Edwards