Monday, 2 May 2011

River of Flowers

We've briefly mentioned the River of Flowers project before as something we have been discussing at our meetings so here's a bit more information about it and what we're doing locally:

The 'river' in River of Flowers is an evocative way of describing the planting of urban meadows in 'pollination streams' or 'green corridors' in order to help our pollinators, bees, butterflies and hoverflies, find forage in the city. It describes the flight path of the pollinators as much as it does the flow of wildflowers. Having started in north London, River of Flowers is expanding rapidly through London. It has contacts in east London via its connections with the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and The Golden Company, with west London via the Kensington& Chelsea Meanwhile Wildlife Garden and Living Medicine and with south London via the Walworth Community Farm and Roots and Shoots.

Our transition group is mapping the current wildlife areas in the borough and we have signed up to join the London branch of the River of Flowers. This is part of a nationwide campaign supported by The Co-operative who state that "the UK has lost an alarming 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s and this has had a major impact on pollinator numbers. The number of honeybees in the UK has halved in the last 25 years, and three quarters of butterfly species and two thirds of moths have seen population declines since the 1970s".   Unless this habitat is reinstated there could be disastrous consequences on our production of food.

Here in Brockley we're running a sample wildflower meadow at the orchard site on Hilly Fields which we're planning to plant later in May (more details below) - something which, if successful will be of benefit to both the orchard and the parks diversity. There is also the recently planted wildflower meadow adjacent to the community garden at Brockley Station. These projects will be included in a mapping of Lewisham's wildflower sites which we are undertaking which will be added to the London wildflower map and is effectively a new 'stream' to the 'river'.

Meadow Flower Pilot
Would you like to join us to plant a very small area of the orchard site with wildflowers?  

This is the background
...Our Transition Group, Friends of Hilly Fields and a couple of orchard 'carers' have been discussing how we can help to increase the planting of wildflower meadows in order to provide more habitat for pollinating insects, and thought a good way to start would be to pilot a small area at the orchard site. 

This is the plan.

1.  Time and venue:  Sat 7 May 2.00 to 3.00 at Orchard Site on Hilly Fields.

2.  Remove turf from an area approx 6' x 5' (site agreed with Glendale).  Rake ground and scatter meadow flower seed.  Cover with chicken wire (pegged down well) to avoid disturbance from foxes and dogs (and to be taken up once plants start to grow through and cover the ground).

3.  'Plant' small sign to tell people what's growing.

4.  Water plot at regular intervals as needed.

5.  In the autumn, cut the flowers to let seeds set and after 4- 5 days rake up the cuttings to compost elsewhere (meadow flowers thrive on poor soil).

All hands will be welcome!  Bring gloves and (if you have one) a spade.  Can you join us?

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