Friday, 5 August 2016

Plants for pollinators

Pollinating insects are incredibly important to our well-being, as are places where people can go outdoors and connect with nature. We felt that the Memorial Garden at Jubilee House could do with a little TLC, so we put a shout-out on the internal communication network for Gatwick staff to come and join in with a gardening day. 
The memorial garden is a space dedicated to Kevin Ayling, Jamie Cadman and Glen Browning, and we hope they would approve of their new pollinator friendly plants.
Specially selected plants for our citizen science project

With help from Professor Ratnieks at Sussex University and Tom S and Kevin at Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, we managed to get over 200 new plants on site for Wednesday, ready to go!

The next morning it was down to business......we made great progress, fuelled by Katherine's homemade flapjacks and some complimentary coffees from the Charlton House restaurant. We removed the non-flowering shrubs, retaining what we could and giving some away for rehoming. 

Photo by Wendy Crowhurst

The top layer of gravel was scraped off and new plots marked out, then each plot dug over...

The hardest part complete, it was just before lunchtime when the first plants went in...

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)

Photo by Wendy Crowhurst

Professor Ratnieks provided us with a selection of posters, each containing useful information on each type of bee-friendly plant. These will eventually go on display in the flower beds.

Time for a wee break for lunch (and a chance for some Gatwick honey tasting!) 

Back to work; more plants going in, with a number of staff nipping over to help out in between their meetings...

Its really coming together now, and a few people who helped earlier in the morning were able to pop back out and help us with the final push...

As we finished up, the office staff had to down their tools to dash off for their finals meetings. The rest of us pottered around a little bit longer, collecting up spare pots, watering everything in...

Once these plants get growing, they will really fill out the spaces in these beds. As the flowers come into bloom, we will be observing which of the plants attract the most pollinators.

There are still a few finishing touches to implement, such as installing edging boards and staking out the colourful posters, so on Thursday August 11th we are holding another task day in this space. If any staff wanted to pop along again on lunch break to lend us a few minutes, you are most welcome! Just contact myself or Tom through this blog.


Many thanks to Charlton House, Glendale Landscaping Services, the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, our volunteers and all of the Gatwick Airport Ltd staff who have helped make this project happen at very short notice. Now we can look forward to seeing it bloom!

Our final list of bee-friendly plants:
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Buddleia (Buddleia davidii)
Catmint (Nepeta sp.)
Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff (Dahlia sp.)
Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica)
Helenium Sahin’s Early Flowerer (Helenium sp.)
Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum)
Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantia)
Lavender (Lavandula x intermedia)
Marjoram (Origanum vulgare)
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Sunflower Lemon queen (Helianthus annuus)
Verbena (Verbena bonariensis)
Wallflower ‘Bowles Mauve’ (Erysimum linifolium)