Gardeners’ Best Bat Banquets

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Winners of Bat-friendly Planting Competition announced

The winners of a photo-competition to find the nation’s most bat-friendly plant displays have been announced.

The competition ran as part of Wild About Gardens Week (24-30 October) which is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), The Wildlife Trusts and Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and this year focused on what gardeners can do to help bats.

With habitat loss putting native bat species under increasing pressure, the competition asked gardeners to choose a range of insect-friendly plants, watch them grow and send in a photograph in order to inspire others to do more to help bats.

Competition entries were submitted in three categories - Individual, Group and School - and show the many ways that gardeners can transform even the smallest space into a wildlife haven.

Winner of the individual category, Paul Burton from Lancashire, found that his pond, surrounded by shrubs, woody plants and a small tree, provided a feast for local wildlife. He said: “We moved here about 20 years ago and when we first put in the pond it was very small. Gradually, we enlarged it as more wildlife moved in and it continues to thrive. It's always a place of calm and interest throughout the seasons. The bats are always drawn to that area of the garden so there must be an abundance of insects hovering around.”

Halesowen Abbey Trust wins the group category and is part way through a large-scale project to restore the 18th century Leasowes Walled Garden in Halesowen, West Midlands. All the Trust members are volunteers and have created a ‘Biodiversity and Bats’ area, incorporating bat-friendly plants and mature trees that can make excellent bat roosts.

The winner of the school category is Southill Lower School Garden Club in Bedfordshire who used a mixture of perennials to plant a ‘Beautiful Big Bat Banquet Border’ made from upcycled filing cabinets. The young pupils meet once a week at lunchtimes and love to help wildlife by planting wildflowers and other insect-friendly plants.

Christine Rhoden, a parent volunteer who runs SLS Garden Club said: “With 10 of Bedfordshire’s bat species living locally, the children cheered when they found out we would be planting a bat banquet to help feed them.”

Even a window box or tiny town garden can attract the insects that help bats to not just survive but thrive.

As part of Wild About Gardens Week the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), The Wildlife Trusts and Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) provided advice to gardeners on the most beautiful, bat-friendly plants to choose from, they include:

• Daisies such as oxeye daisy, cosmos or Michaelmas daisy
• Umbellifers that form ‘landing platforms’ for insects. These include wild angelica, bishop’s weed and sea holly
• Flowers with long pollen-tubes which attract longer tongued insects. These include common honeysuckle, Scotch thistle and purple top
• Herbs and aromatic flowers such as lavender, marjoram and borage
• Tall, pale or night-scented flowers that appeal to night time insects such as moths. These include hemp agrimony, evening primrose and night-scented stock
• Aquatic plants that provide habitat for aquatic larvae such as mayflies. These include lady’s smock or cuckoo flower, purple loosestrife and water mint
• Trees, shrubs and climbers that support a huge range of insects. These include mountain ash or rowan, hebe and common ivy

A leaflet, ‘Stars of the Night’, contains more tips and advice on how gardeners can help bats and can be downloaded at:  

For further information or to request images please contact:
Liz Carney, The Wildlife Trusts, 01636 670 075
Claire Weaver, RHS, 0207 821 3043
Joe Nunez-Mino, Bat Conservation Trust, 0207 820 7168


Notes to editors

Wild About Gardens
The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS set up Wild About Gardens in 2009 and Wild About Gardens Week in 2013. It is an annual celebration of wildlife gardening and provides a focus to encourage people to use their gardens and take action to help support wildlife. Over the past 50 years we've seen declines in two thirds of the UK’s plant and animal species, for a range of reasons, including loss of habitat. Many of our common garden species - hedgehogs, house sparrows, starlings and common frogs, for example – are increasingly endangered. Gardens have enormous potential to act as mini-nature reserves. There are 15 million gardens in the UK, estimated to cover about 270,000 hectares – more than the area of all the National Nature Reserves in the UK.

The Wildlife Trusts
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We care for around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves welcome millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working with local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

Bat Conservation Trust
BCT are the leading NGO solely devoted to the conservation of bats and the landscapes on which they rely. We work closely with many organisations including over 100 bat groups across the UK. Bats are unique and play a vital role in our environment but during the last century bat populations suffered severe declines. We are working to secure the future of bats in our ever changing world by tackling the threats to bats, from persecution to loss or roosts and changing land use. As the authoritative voice for bat conservation we work locally, nationally, across Europe and internationally.


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262