Dobbies’ Ayr store partners with Red Squirrel Survival Trust

Published by
Kyle Smith

Ayrshire: Garden Centre hosts free Grow How session on endangered species. Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre, is announcing its support for the national conservation charity, The Red Squirrel Survival Trust, ahead of Red Squirrel Awareness Week (2-8 October).

Dobbies are partnering to raise awareness of this endangered species at the free-to-attend Grow How session in Ayr, sharing advice on how everyone can create an inviting habitat for the red squirrel on Saturday, 7 October, at 10:30 am.

Spotting a red squirrel is a rarity. According to the UK Squirrel Accord, the population has fallen from around 3.5m in the UK to the current estimate of 287,000. 

Around 75% of the population is found in Scotland. In a bid to protect the biodiversity of Britain’s native woodlands, Dobbies and the Trust are highlighting the trees and plants that gardeners can grow in their outside space to encourage and support red squirrels.

Grow How attendees in Ayr will learn all about these small agile animals, known for their fiery red coat, distinctive ear tufts and bushy brown tails, and gain an understanding of the vital role they play in the ecosystem by spreading and regenerating tree species in native forestry and dispersing several species of fungi.

Autumn is a great season to spot red squirrels, and sightings often happen in mixed or broadleaf woodlands, as these make for brilliant habitats. Dobbie’s horticultural experts will outline the best trees and plants in the garden and what can be done to encourage this creature to visit.

Walnut, hazelnut and holly trees are excellent food sources for red squirrels, and sunflower seeds, bramble, and raspberry plants provide the creatures with abundant nutrients. These products can be purchased from Ayr.

Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, is eager to help the nation create a safe environment for the species to thrive. He said: “It’s vital that our gardens provide a welcome home to a wide variety of wildlife, and there’s been a real emphasis on creating wildlife-friendly areas, corridors, water and feeding zones to help protect a range of species.

“Red squirrels enjoy a natural food source, a great addition to your borders, beds and planters. We hope this informal yet informative educational session provides our customers at Ayr with the knowledge they need to help us come together and make a real difference, starting with our gardens.”

As an ambassador for the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, Alan Titchmarsh, Britain’s best-loved gardener, is working to encourage gardeners to plant trees and shrubs to help feed our native red squirrels.

“There are trees and shrubs suitable for gardens of all sizes, and by planting them now, they will grow and mature and be ready for when the red squirrels come home,” says Alan.

 “A plentiful supply of appropriate food and fresh water is essential for the reds to breed. The most popular growing sources are walnuts, hazelnuts, conifer seeds, holly berries, crab apples, wild and bird cherries, Bullace, Dogrose and Guelder rose hips.”

The Red Squirrel Survival Trust Campaign Director, Vanessa Fawcett, is working with Dobbies to help make Alan’s recommendations available from their garden centres nationwide.

 She said: “It’s great to be partnering with Dobbies as we raise awareness of the declining population size of the red squirrel. There’s plenty we can do to nurture this animal and give it the best chance at survival, and I look forward to seeing the nation get involved this October.”

In Conclusion, the Ayrshire Community urged the whole family to get involved in Red Squirrel Awareness Week and head along to Dobbies’ free-to-attend Grow How session in Ayr. 

For more information about how to take part, visit Events Dobbies Garden Centres to find out more about the conservation work Red Squirrel Survival Trust is doing to protect this endangered species, visit

Kyle Smith

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