Plankbridge Master Hutmakers is returning to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the UK’s most prestigious flower show, for the fourth year running and has enlisted the help of a Dorset Wildlife Trust Forest School to build two bug hotels for its wildlife friendly tradestand exhibit. Handmade by pupils from Upton Junior School near Poole, Dorset, the bug hotels will be on display alongside Plankbridge’s Victorian-inspired shepherd’s hut from Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 May 2017.
Packed with pine cones, silver birch and grass, all foraged from the woodland floor at Lytchett Bay, a Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserve, which is managed in partnership with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, the bug hotels provide a perfect dwelling for beetles, ladybirds, solitary bees and lacewings. While these little critters will not be brought along to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the bug hotels will give visitors a glimpse of the Dorset countryside that has inspired Plankbridge’s approach to building shepherd’s huts, which were once a commonplace feature of the county’s agricultural landscape.
Richard Lee, co-founder and owner of Plankbridge Master Hutmakers, explains; “The children from the Forest School have done a wonderful job building these bug hotels for our wildlife friendly plot at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It is important to us that all aspects of our exhibit have rural craft and heritage at their core, so enlisting the support of a Dorset Forest School was a perfect fit. While contributing a key element to our wildlife friendly themed exhibit, we hope that this will also help to inspire the next generation to think about ways to encourage wildlife back into their gardens.”
Katie Wilkinson, Great Heath community conservation officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, adds; “The children really enjoyed constructing the bug hotels for display at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the activity provided a nice opportunity for them to learn about some of the smaller characters in our ecosystem and how we can help to look after them. It’s wonderful for them to be able to showcase what they learn at Forest School on such a big stage and they are really excited about the thought of who might see their work on show next to the beautiful Plankbridge shepherd’s hut.”