Dorset residents are being urged to get green-fingered with wildlife in mind for a competition.

Dorset Wildlife Trust's (DWT's) ninth annual wildlife gardening competition is now open for entries.

The popular competition is free to enter and is suitable for private gardeners, schools, housing associations, community groups and also for those in rented properties.

This year a new award has been announced.

The 'innovation' award is for gardeners who use creative ways to create homes for wildlife such as using upcycled materials.

DWT's community conservation officer, Katie Wilkinson, said: "This competition is for anyone who has wildlife friendly features in their garden, such as a pond or a mini wildflower meadow.

"You don't have to be an expert.

"The judges who come to visit the entrants will also give tips and advice on wildlife friendly gardening if you're just starting out.

"More than ever, our wildlife is dependant on gardens to provide food and shelter, so what we do in our gardens is really important."

This year the competition is sponsored by The Gardens Group.

Managing director, Mike Burks, said: "Wildlife friendly gardening has really grown in popularity over the years, as people become more aware of their impact on the environment and wildlife.

"Every year we are hugely impressed and inspired by gardeners across Dorset, who are creating beautiful wildlife havens in their gardens, no matter how big or small.

"This competition is not just for gardening experts, so we would like to encourage anyone who is trying to create a welcoming environment for wildlife to enter, whether in their gardens or out in the wider community."

Wildlife friendly features in the garden include ponds, bug hotels and bird boxes.

The closing date for applications is Friday, May 25, with judging due to start in June.

Those who take part in the competition will receive a DWT wildlife friendly garden plaque and will be invited to the prize-giving ceremony at The Garden Group's Castle Gardens in Sherborne in July.

Prizes for the winners include wildlife garden products, gardening books, vouchers and a winners plaque.

For more information or to apply online, visit