In the history of the RSPB and its involvement with garden wildlife, 11 August 2011 is going to go down as perhaps its most momentous day.

The growth of Big Garden Birdwatch to over half a million participants pushes it very close, but the launch of our very first dedicated public wildlife garden – well, to a gardener like me, that’s massive news!

It is Flatford Wildlife Garden, right in the heart of Constable country in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Suffolk. It's perfect as part of a day out exploring Flatford Mill, the scene of the Haywain and the beautiful countryside. And I know the team there have been working flat out to get it ready.

Regular readers will know that I blogged about the garden in May when I dropped in for a behind-the-scenes glimpse as work started. I’d have loved to have been at the opening, but – curses – the RSPB day job is so busy it was not to be (don’t worry, I love it really!).

So the photos for today’s blog are from my earlier visit. As you can see, it was just a skeleton then, with the plants just starting to go in.

But now you can all go along, any day between 10 and 4.30, and see how the thing is developing – it must be so lush now!

Remember, this is as it was - I'm promised photos of the opening to show you next week.

So what's the idea of the garden? Well, it's is twofold, really:

  • to inspire people to step up for nature in the own back gardens, showcasing our Homes for Wildlife project, and hosting wildlife gardening talks, schools visits and other activities
  • and to make people happy.

I'll look forward to bringing you news that it's working :-)