London, 21st March 2018

London National Park City calls for London to bloom with 9 million wildflowers - one flower for every Londoner

Londoners are being urged to sow millions of wildflowers – one for every Londoner – to brighten the capital, and to pave the way for London becoming the world’s first National Park City in 2019. #WildflowersForLondoners is led by London National Park City working with Seedball, the award-winning London social enterprise making wildflower seed balls, to help anyone in London make the capital bloom. [1], [2]

For every seed ball sold, SeedBall will donate another to the London National Park City SeedBank for Schools to be distributed free of charge to London schools in early spring 2019, ready for the London National Park City’s launch in summer 2019. [3], [4]

Paul de Zylva, Chair, National Park City Foundation [6] said:

“We can all bring blooms to our own street, flat, allotment and, working with others, to our school, workplace, office, park, hospital, community centre or playground. Wildflower seed balls are easy to use and you don’t even need a garden or gardening knowledge.

“By backing our Wildflowers for Londoners campaign, anyone can get growing with ease in their own street and neighbourhood. Together, through small actions we can transform our urban landscape into a beautiful city of colourful wildflowers that return every year.

“Wildflowers for Londoners shows what the London National Park City is about. The more people, groups and organisations that the more we can all enjoy 9 million flowers and help transform London’s urban landscape for people and wildlife to enjoy.”

Emily Lambert, co-founder of Seedball and Project Maya said:

“If we can utilise all of the suitable growing spaces in London, the potential to support our native wildflowers and the wildlife that depends on them is massive. Please help support London’s National Park City and be part of something extraordinary.”

London National Park City asked Londoners on social media to say why they think there should be more wildflowers in London. Replies included:

  • “Wild flowers will soften the edges of the city and brighten its grey corners.”
  • “The city is co-created by people and nature. Let’s let nature have more of a say in the design process.”
  • “We want all London’s children to enjoy, learn about, and be excited by nature!”
  • “Sowing wildflowers in a community can bring people together.”
  • “Wildflowers can grow in the most challenging of situations with little help.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  1. Anyone can join in and back London National Park City’s #WildflowersForLondoners campaign by visiting https://chuffed.org/project/grow-the-nationalparkcity. The crowdfunding campaign runs until 9th April and aims to generate enough support to fund the enough wild flower seedballs to sow 9 million wildflowers during 2018-2019.
  2. In return for supporting the campaign, backers may receive one of several perks consisting of seed balls they can sow this spring for flowers this summer and next year. The perks are of different sizes, ranging from enough seedballs to brighten up a small dull corner near their home or flat, or as many as are needed to fill an area the equivalent of a Northern Line tube carriage for a group project around an office or in a park.
  3. #WildflowersForLondoners seed balls are to be used to bring colour, beauty and wildlife habitats to the human environment. That is the streets, balconies, gardens, schools, workplaces, community centres and other shared spaces that make up London. They are not for use in or near where wild plants and flowers are already established such as local nature reserves and other conservation areas. If in any doubt you should enquire with your local wildlife organisations and local council nature conservation officer to ensure there is no risk to important existing wildlife (for example, some derelict-looking brownfield sites host important insects and other wildlife). Full guidance will be distributed with the seed balls.
  4. The campaign is sowing wildflowers which are beautiful to look at and easy to care for and which also support wildlife such as bees and butterflies. All the flowers are native to this country and have natural distribution in the north west of Europe. The seeds used in the seed balls are sourced from UK-based Flora Locale accredited suppliers. Such suppliers follow a code of practice that seed is native and that the flora has been collected or grown without damaging wild plants. Flora Locale was originally setup by Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI), The Royal Society for Nature Conservation (RSNC), Department of the Environment, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew), Plantlife and the seed industry.
  5. Bees are the principal pollinators of flowering plants and are crucial for food production. In the UK, bees contribute pollination services worth an estimated £1.9 billion per year to the UK economy*. Yet their disappearance is a very real threat. A major factor causing the bees’ decline is the loss of countryside wildflowers which they rely on for food. Butterflies, moths and hoverflies also pollinate flowers, vegetables and fruit. Sadly, three-quarters of British butterflies are in decline. One of the best ways a Londoner can help all pollinating insects is to plant native flowers such as those included in our seed balls. (* Environment Audit Committee, 7th Report - Pollinators and Pesticides - Volume 1, para. 94 available at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/insects-and-insecticides/ )
  6. In February, London moved a step closer to becoming the world’s first National Park City by securing the backing of the majority of London’s 654 local council ward teams, alongside the support of the Mayor of London and members of the London Assembly. In celebration, London National Park City is calling for Londoners to come together and help make London a successful National Park City by sowing 9 million #WildflowersForLondoners - one flower for every Londoner.


The London National Park City is a big idea that all Londoners can contribute to. Inspired by the aims and values of Britain’s national parks, the London National Park City will celebrate the capital’s remarkable urban landscape and work with Londoners to make the city greener, healthier and more enjoyable.

London National Park City’s aims include working with Londoners to:

    1. Connect more people to nature and the outdoors, improving their health, wellbeing and social cohesion;
    2. Create more high quality green and blue space and better places in London, delivering improvements for wildlife, people’s enjoyment and an attractive and sustainable environment for living and working in;
    3. Promote the identity of London as the world’s first National Park City, helping residents and visitors to appreciate the potential for a rich cultural life anchored in its outdoor heritage;
    4. Link people to the national and international family of national parks and other protected areas.
       

A London National Park City will not have any planning powers or add new layers of bureaucracy. It will add value by creating an unprecedented opportunity to make London not just a political, financial and cultural centre, but an ecological centre too.

The National Park City Foundation is the charity created to help make the London National Park City a success. It will do this by amplifying, catalysing and spreading best practice, joining-up initiatives, increasing investment into National Park City related activities and galvanising Londoners to take actions improving city life.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made London National Park City a centre-piece of his plans for London; for example, citing National Park City aims in his draft Environment Strategy and his draft London Plan - the Capital’s planning masterplan. This includes an aim the London National Park City shares with the Mayor to make half of London green by 2050.

About SeedBall

Seedball is run by social enterprise ‘Project Maya’ in London, and was founded in 2011 by two conservation scientists. Seedball’s goal is to inspire and help as many people as possible to have gardens, balconies and window boxes that are bursting with native wildflowers and teeming with wildlife that depend upon them. UK gardens cover about 270,000 hectares - that's more than all the designated National Nature Reserves combined. If we can inspire people to harness this available space for wildflowers we can begin to reverse the 97% decline in wildflower habitats that has occurred since the 1940’s.

Seedball make wildflower seed balls that are designed to protect wildflower seeds from predators and help ensure as many seeds sown as possible flower. Each seed ball contains a mixture of pollinator-friendly native wildflower seeds along with clay, peat-free compost and chili powder. They don’t require any specific expertise to use, they only need to be scattered onto soil and nature will take care of the rest.

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