In aid of the humble mollusc

The Wildlife Trusts and RHS have joined forces to encourage people to use their gardens to take action to help support nature.


The newly formed Wild About Gardens campaign, celebrates common garden visitors, from hedgehogs, house sparrows to slugs and snails. Over the past 50 years, we’ve seen declines in two-thirds of the UK’s plant and animal species, where the once frequent garden visitors are now sadly much less common. Cumulatively, gardens and green spaces have tremendous potential to support wildlife. To combat that decline, the Wild About Gardens aims to turn the UK’s estimated 30 million gardens into a network of mini nature reserves.

By means of an annual theme, the campaign aims to inspire action for a specific animal or habitat that needs our help. For 2024, Wild About Gardens is shining a light on slugs and snails. Though they are not on an endangered species list, slugs and snails have a bad reputation, despite being an important part of the garden ecosystem. The campaign hopes that by learning to appreciate and co-exist with snails and slugs, gardeners can adopt a more environmentally friendly approach. Molluscs recycle waste and are a food source for many other species, from birds to beetles and are vital to garden ecosystems.

Helen Bostock, RHS Senior Wildlife Specialist, said: “The RHS wants everyone to help protect the plants, animals and fungi that benefit our gardens and protect the wider environment. While a small number of slugs and snails can cause damage to certain plants, overall they bring many benefits to the garden and contribute to a balanced ecosystem, whether that’s by clearing away rotting vegetation or providing a vital food source for more popular garden visitors such as frogs, hedgehogs and song thrushes. We hope that by highlighting the crucial work that molluscs do in our gardens we can help give them a well-deserved reputation makeover”.

An informative booklet has been produced for the campaign to improve our understanding and respect for the molluscs. Not including those in the sea, there 150 species slugs and snails in the UK of which only a few cause problems for prized plants in gardens. Identification charts, species information and helpful guides to manage our newly found friends are all included in the booklet.