The London Beekeeper is Planting for Pollinators

Paul Youthed is a Ranger for London National Park City. He runs a business called The London Beekeeper, managing beehives for clients dotted around the city. This year he wanted to work with clients to improve forage at some locations and, through LNPC, with funding from Right Thing Media add flowers for pollinators at two sites.

University of London – Pollinator Pocket Park

I mentioned that we might have some greening funds to the (then) Sustainability Manager at the University of London – Matt Wilkinson. 

He was really happy to work with us to provide a space where we could plant some plants for pollinators, as this fitted in with their greening objectives. 

We reviewed a few spots and decided on a small neglected bed in Torrington Square (opposite Senate House). The bed was empty apart from a few dead saplings and some weeds. Matt had the bed cleared and I got in touch with David Ward – the Garden and Nursery Director at the world renowned Beth Chatto Gardens. He came up with a fantastic selection of flowers that would be excellent for pollinator forage. 

While planting the bed, I saw the most wonderful collection of local insects. All manner of bugs turned up to see the new flowers – carder bees, bumble bees, mason bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, honey bees and various things I don’t know the name of!

The bed is really starting to settle in now!

grove park pollinating planting

The Ringway Community Centre  – The Front Garden

The Ringway is a community space in south east London which runs lots of activities for locals. I wanted to add some more planting to the front garden that would provide forage for pollinators and birds, improve screening to the road, give additional habitat to wildlife and transform some of the boring lawn into a flower bed for visitors.

Low maintenance medium to large shrubs were chosen to go along the fence line between the car park and the busy road in front of the centre. The idea is that once the plants grow in size and get established, they will add more seclusion from the road, lower noise and air pollution from the traffic going past, and add additional habitat for birds to hide in and eat from. Long flowering shrubs have been chosen that will also provide excellent forage for pollinators.

Additional hedging was installed along one side of the fence dividing the two adjoining properties of the centre, adding habitat and forage and reducing dead space. 

In front of this new hedging, an attractive flower bed was dug out of the lawn to add a diverse collection of long flowering, low maintenance plants and flowers to add interest for visitors – both people and insects!

Right now we are planning our upcoming autumn bulb planting and I’m looking for volunteers at the centre to join a gardening club and look after the beds. Get in touch if you’re interested in helping out.

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