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Dragon Finder


Dragons in your Garden

Gardening leave erskine dragons in your garden august 14 (26)

Froglife and Gardening Leave, Erskine

With the constant pressure of development, intensive agricultural practices and large-scale forestry, wildlife can struggle as suitable habitat diminishes and habitat becomes more fragmented.

With these effects, allotments and gardens can become wildlife havens and, if maintained in the correct way, can be important for amphibians and reptiles. Gardens and allotments can also link together over a landscape to create an excellent network of wildlife friendly habitat.

Not only do wildlife friendly gardeners get the chance for closer interaction with our native species, but amphibians and reptiles will also aid a functional garden / allotment as they eliminate many pest species. In addition, allotments and gardens are very important in offering people positive health and well-being through their aesthetic values and the activities one can undertake.

Therapeutic gardens in particular operate so individuals may develop well-being through plants and horticulture. Froglife have been working closely with Trellis to ensure our efforts are focused on key gardens across Scotland. Trellis Scotland

Froglife’s Scottish Dragon Finder project ran a total of 28 wildlife gardening workshops with allotment holders and therapeutic gardeners to:

  • Increase habitat for wildlife, in particular amphibians and reptiles
  • Engage people with nature – including those who haven’t had much interaction with wildlife education before
  • Promote the recording of wildlife in allotments and gardens – so that their significance to amphibians and reptiles might be better understood

The participating gardens represent a broad range of abilities, backgrounds and geographical areas some of which include:

  • Gardens for armed forces veterans to grow vegetables
  • Gardens for people with learning disabilities
  • Gardens at children’s homes
  • Training gardens for the unemployed

Final year: We ran a Train the Trainer session within a prison in East Dunbartonshire at a Trellis event.  It was great to share tips and techniques on running wildlife garden sessions with staff at the prison, sharing our knowledge to use for their own activities!  Visiting the prison setting and talking to staff also gave us valuable insight into running wildlife gardening sessions within unique locations like this.

Our last session took place at Three Town Growers in Ayrshire in spring 2018 delivering our final Dragons in your Garden workshop to the local group.


Year 4: Dragons in your Garden workshops finished for 2017 with some great sessions.  We visited the Ochil Community Garden Project in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire where we made a hibernaculum and a raised pond whilst introducing many of our amphibian and reptile species to the group.  We also ran sessions in 2017 with the Dunblane Allotment Group in Stirling, Ninewells Hospital Garden and the Maxwell Centre in Dundee, Corbenic Camphill Community in Perth and Kinross and Culter in Bloom in Aberdeenshire.


Ochil Community Garden, Clackmannanshire

The Maxwell Centre, Dundee











Ninewells Hospital Garden, Dundee

Culter in Bloom, Aberdeenshire











Year 3: The Scottish Dragon Finder team delivered the Dragons in your Garden sessions for 2016 and visited some great groups in West Dunbartonshire (Dalmuir Community Park), Perth and Kinross (the Walled Garden), Inverclyde (Parklea Branching Out) and City of Edinburgh (Seasons / Camilla House). These sessions introduced gardening for wildlife to the groups which was followed by time outdoors to create features for the benefit of wildlife including insect hotels and hibernaculum for hibernating amphibians and reptiles.


And this insect hotel with Dalmuir Community Park

And this insect hotel with Dalmuir Community Park

Creating an insect hotel with the group at the Walled Garden

Creating an insect hotel with the group at the Walled Garden











The group at Seasons created this insect hotel

Our final insect hotel in 2016 with the group at Seasons


Year 2: Froglife were involved with some great allotment / garden groups in 2015, holding workshops to encourage and educate gardening for wildlife and visiting the following venues:

  • In-depth wildlife gardening talks at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, the Ecology Centre in Fife, the Lilybank Resource Centre in Angus and Rouken Glen in East Renfrewshire
  • Model garden activities and creation of insect hotels at Sunshine on Leith Community Gardens in Edinburgh, the Hansel Alliance in East Ayrshire and the Scottish Spina Bifida Association in North Lanarkshire
  • Train the Trainer workshop and hibernacula creation at the Hidden Gardens at the Tramway, Glasgow City
  • Pond restoration at Bothwell Community Garden, South Lanarkshire
  • Two Train the Trainer workshops at the Trellis Conference at Bield of Blackruthven, Perth and Kinross

See more using the menu links on the left.

Year 1: Froglife undertook 8 Dragons in your Garden sessions, including one Train the Trainer session, in 2014 in 8 different council areas.

  • Workshop educating garden users in gardening for wildlife and creating Toad Abodes at the Woodlands Garden, Glasgow City
  • Wildlife friendly gardening workshop creating a bog garden, mini-raised ponds and hibernacula (see the results below!) with the Larkhall Community Growers, South Lanarkshire
  • Toad Abode creation and advice on making their ponds more amphibian friendly at Southton Small Holdings, Perth and Kinross
  • Workshop at Gardening Leave, a garden dedicated to supporting veterans through horticultural therapy, in Erskine, Renfrewshire
  • Workshop creating a bog garden with Green Routes in Gartmore, Stirling
  • Pond management workshop and presentation to the Organic Growers of Fairlee, North Aryshire
  • Talk on encouraging amphibians and reptiles in your garden as part of the Gardening Scotland event, Edinburgh City
  • Train the Trainer workshop at a Trellis networking event in Grangemouth, Falkirk




Larkhall community growers july 14 (73)

Once dug, the area is covered with a pierced liner and gravel

Larkhall community growers july 14 (45)

The area designated to soon become a bog garden

Larkhall community growers july 14 (29)

The bog garden completed! Once established the bog area and mini-ponds will provide good habitat for amphibians


Larkhall community growers july 14 (60)

The base of our hibernacula dug into the ground

Larkhall community growers july 14 (12)

Our completed hibernacula – full of hidey holes for frogs and toads!