Sustainable Drainage Systems – Webinar with James Hewetson-Brown

We have recently started a program of lunchtime webinars looking at specific landscaping topics and how wildflowers can contribute to their success.

We hope these webinars will be a useful tool for landscape professionals and will align with the various training modules we offer, including CPD sessions for Landscape Architects, our Accredited Partner Training Scheme for Landscape Contractors and Garden Designers and Council training days.

We conducted our first webinar at lunchtime last Friday and the topic was Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs). We had a very good turnout despite initial technical difficulties and got some great questions and feedback. So we thought this month’s blog could look at the topics we discussed in the webinar and give you a link to go to the full presentation that was recorded as a result.

So rather than go through the whole presentation in this blog I am lifting some of the slides to give you an idea and hope that they whet your appetite to take advantage of the free recorded resource below.

We looked at how SuDs offer a set of tools to mitigate water flow to prevent flooding, the relevance of wildflowers in these schemes and how their inclusion offers multifunctional options for any development:

What are SuDS?

We talked through the soft landscape options in SuDs and how wildflowers can contribute to these:

Soft landscape options

We then discussed four specific benefits wildflowers can bring to SuDs. The example below is a study by Portsmouth University looking at how the inclusion of wildflowers in a SuDs scheme can reduce pollution:

Pollution Mitigation

We then talked through a cautionary tale of when specifying wildflowers in a Suds scheme is not always the best choice. We went on to explore five wider benefits of wildflowers in urban greening and GI in general. The two examples below are improved biodiversity (which will be relevant when Biodiversity Net Gain is implemented):

Broader benefits

and how using wildflowers can help with meeting regulations:

Regulatory requirements

We finished with some case studies of the 4 soft landscaping SuDs options, some conclusions and then a few of the questions we were asked after the webinar and links to further reading.

The webinar is a 40 minute long seminar of pictures and audio (although the advantage of using the link is that you can fast forward where you like!). We hope it will be a useful resource to offer multifunctional ideas for any SuDs scheme.

Hope you enjoy the webinar and we look forward to the next one!

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Delivering the ‘diversity’ in Biodiversity Net Gain

There is currently a lot of coverage in the press dedicated to the loss of biodiversity – in this country and across the world.

Now the Government is set to introduce a new initiative – Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). Any new development that disturbs green space will need to have a plan to deliver BNG. In simple terms the developer will have to ensure that a project/development maintains or enhances biodiversity.

Hoverflies and other invertebrates feeding on Wild Carrot

This isn’t new and maintaining biodiversity has been a planning objective for many years. The whole 2012 Olympic project went to great lengths to deliver green infrastructure. It set and fulfilled its own very exacting targets and was an exemplar development in this respect.

Although still in its early stages, BNG is going to be measured, audited and monitored over years. It will be compulsory so there has to be a financial incentive, either as a grant or as a fine. So far it looks like the latter!

This is likely to mean that an ecologist or suitably qualified person will assess the state of the site before work starts and report back on the current levels of biodiversity. In order to get planning permission a design to ensure BNG will have to be submitted and implemented (if impossible to achieve on site then a donor site has to be found and paid for in mitigation).

Wildflowers for development Copyright Contract Ecology Ltd 2019

So to reiterate, the big difference to previous initiatives is that this is going to be mandatory – so any plan will be monitored to ensure its success. There is talk of 30 years’ worth of monitoring.

There is still detail to decide and consultations continue, but the laudable aim is to see a significant improvement in the UK’s biodiversity. The government has recently conducted a consultation exercise on BNG and how it will be delivered (December 2018) and we are awaiting the outcome.  In an ideal world, we will see new developments providing oases of biodiverse refuge for wildlife that link with others across the country to form a network of species rich habitats.

The height, density and structure of a wildflower meadow offers food and shelter for all sorts of wildlife

In all of this wildflowers can help! They are a species rich habitat and offer the ‘diversity’ bit of the word ‘biodiversity’.  A typical wildflower space will have from 20 to 60 species in a few square meters and this will go a long way to answering the landscape professional’s problems of getting enough species into a given area to help their BNG demands.

Expect to find more fauna and wildlife in the protective habitat of a wildflower meadow.

The point is that to meet targets for biodiversity you need a lot of species. A well established and maintained wildflower meadow is about as species rich as you can get in the UK. Whilst wildflowers are not the only answer, we know that flora diversity leads to fauna diversity. A monoculture is proven to limit fauna/wildlife.

With few plant species and reduced height, a mown lawn limits fauna/wildlife

Speed is of the essence too. Wildflowers are quick to establish and bugs, bees and butterflies migrate to this habitat within days. Trees will help but take years to reach a growth stage that will contribute.

Most stakeholders, from ecologists to developers agree that the principle behind BNG is a good one. Getting the detail right will be hard. There is little chance of all stakeholders being happy with the scheme and compromise will be needed. However there are real opportunities to improve biodiversity in urban and semi urban locations using reliable and practical ways that guarantee results.

Get the establishment of a wildflower meadow right and it will reverse biodiversity loss.

Get this right and there are many beneficiaries. The ecologist can watch and monitor improvements to biodiversity. The developer can be safe in the knowledge that they have done their bit for nature for which they can claim positive PR whilst avoiding any penalties. The site owner will have reduced costs due to the lower maintenance required with the upkeep of the site. The general public will have a natural looking green site that improves general health and well-being. Finally and perhaps most importantly, wildlife will have the building blocks needed to survive and thrive.

With thanks to Oonagh Nelson, Principal Ecological Consultant at Contract Ecology Ltd for her advice and input.

James Hewetson-Brown MD Wildflower Turf Ltd

 

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A welcome addition to our Team!

With a busy year ahead, we’ve recently appointed a new addition to our team.

Exciting news this month, as we can reveal we’ve appointed Phil Singleton to assist us to further service our growing customer base in the north of England. Welcome Phil!

Phil Singleton

Phil has a strong background in the horticultural and landscape industries, having formally worked for Icopal Limited (part of the BMI Group) and Greenscape UK (now trading as Fytogreen).

As former Deputy Chairman for GRO (Green Roof Organisation), Phil will use his skills to great advantage from the outset, as we’re currently working on several large wildflower roof projects. Watch this space for further details!

Phil’s appointment follows our northern expansion in 2017, with our production site situated in Helperby, Yorkshire complementing our Hampshire production facility. We have increased our overall capacity and our northern base also enables us to offer training to our Accredited Partners on a more regular basis.

As interest in, and demand for, our range of wildflower products continues to grow apace, we remain committed to providing our customers with outstanding service. Phil is highly qualified and will be instrumental in providing our northern partners with an exceptional level of support.

Phil is very much looking forward to getting to know you over the coming weeks and months, and we are thrilled to be growing our team as we further expand our operations.

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A Gallery of Wildflowers

Art may be in the eye of the beholder but as far as we are concerned the proof is very much in the pudding this month!

With spring just around the corner (we hope!) we’re delighted to share some lovely images of our Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf flourishing within the scenic grounds of The Wykeham Gallery in Hampshire.

The popular Gallery, one of the UK’s leading contemporary art galleries, exhibits paintings as well as an extensive selection of bronze sculptures, ceramics and glass by well-established British and International artists.

The Wykeham Gallery, Stockbridge

Situated on the High Street of Stockbridge, the main Gallery rooms open out into a Sculpture Garden, where space has been provided to exhibit an array of bronzes, ceramics and a collection of glass by the acclaimed glass blower Adam Aaronson.

Garden of Wykeham Gallery

With walls adorned by landscapes, the Gallery itself embarked on a major landscaping project of its own in the summer of 2017.  The Wykeham Gallery enlisted the support of Wildflower Turf Accredited Partners, Charlie’s Homes & Gardens, and the transformation of the Sculpture Garden began.

View back to the gallery

Gallery owner, Gerald Dodson, required a naturalistic solution that would add interest to the rear garden space without detracting from the sculptures themselves. The answer was our Landscape Turf, and the photos above and below illustrate just what can be achieved with this versatile landscaping option.

Landscape turf in late summer

Charlie’s Homes & Gardens Ltd, laid 10m² of Landscape Turf within the dedicated space around the sculptures in the summer of 2017. Comprised of 34 UK native wildflowers and grasses, this low-maintenance landscaping solution has proven the perfect addition to The Wykeham Gallery’s Sculpture Garden. The Gallery and Sculpture Garden are both well worth a visit, and you can find out more about The Wykeham Gallery online.

For further detail about Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf, drop us a line wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk or give us a call on 01256 771 222.

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Do you know about Native Enriched Wildflower Turf?

Want wildflowers but need them to catch the eye?

Launched in 2017, Wildflower Turf Ltd’s Native Enriched Turf™ was developed to provide maximum floral display providing more colour and interest than our Landscape Turf with the addition of naturalised annual and perennial species to our standard native wildflower mix.

Feathered Pink (Dianthus plumarius) one of the additional 24 naturalised perennials

It was designed with aesthetics very much in mind, the turf provides more of a “cottage garden” look compared to our other turf products but will naturalise as it settles into the local environment over time, typically flowering from April until September (weather dependent). It is a product that fits really well into areas of high visibility, either by the public in communal green spaces or for private customers in their own garden settings.

Turf laid in April 2018 and picture taken in June 2018

With an increased focus on landscaping that is both attractive and biodiverse, Native Enriched Turf has proven very popular with our clients as it appeals to a wide range of audience, as well as ensuring a nectar-rich habitat for wildlife.

Bee on a Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Suitable for all soil types, it is ideal for gardens, parks, municipal areas, private grounds and estates, and even verges and roundabouts. However due to the inclusion of some non-native wildflower species within the mix, it is not as hardy as our all UK native Landscape mix, so has a slightly lower tolerance of drought and shade, or being in windy exposed sites. If in doubt about whether this product is right for the site you have in mind, just give us a call to discuss and we will be happy to advise.

Vipers Bugloss and Borage in full flower

As is the case with all our products, Wildflower Turf Native Enriched™ is low-maintenance, requiring only one or two cuts a year. We recommend a cut and remove every Autumn, with a potential second cut and remove occurring during the early summer months if you have a particularly fertile site or species dominance occurring. Please ensure that all cuttings are removed from the site each time to prevent mulching or adding fertility to the site with rotting material. Again if you are not sure when to complete your cut and removes, please call us for advice or refer to our blog on Maintenance here.

Similar to our Wildflower Turf Landscape product, the unique, soil-less system of Wildflower Turf Native Enriched™ turf provides excellent weed-suppression and is very quick to establish.

University of York

For further detail about Wildflower Turf Native Enriched™, drop us a line wildflower@wildflowerturf.co.uk or give us a call on 01256 771 222.

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Wildflower Turf – here are your best bits of 2018!!

As 2018 draws to a close (how did that come about so quickly?), we thought we’d share with you a selection of projects and key highlights from our year. It’s been a very busy and rewarding twelve months for the Wildflower Turf Ltd team, and we’re looking forward to continuing to share news and insights with you as the New Year commences.

January 2018 saw us exhibiting again at the BTME BIGGA Turf Management exhibition Harrogate, and we’ll be there in 2019 too. Pop it in your diary and come and say hello!

Our BIGGA Stand in 2018 – We will be on Stand 114 next year

Still in that part of the world and not too far away from Harrogate, The University of York formally opened The Piazza Learning Centre at the start of this year. Containing a range of high-quality learning spaces and facilities for those living and studying on the University’s Campus East, the area around the new building features 1,800m² of our Native Enriched Wildflower Turf. (Read more about this project here.)

Aerial view of the site – picture from J Palmer (Landscapes) Ltd

The Beast from the East arrived in February, bringing unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall to a widespread area and causing general disruption. Timing is everything though, and thankfully our Managing Director, James Hewetson-Brown, dodged the worst of the late winter weather to attend the Pro Landscaper Business Awards and celebrate with nominees and winners.

With the worst of this year’s inclement weather behind us, Helen Gillespie-Brown attended the Landscape 50 Conference in Sheffield. Hosted by the University of Sheffield the conference brought together leading thinkers and practitioners from around the world to set out a bold future vision for Landscape Architecture and provided much food-for-thought to those in attendance.

Closer to home, we supplied 2,768m² of Bespoke Wildflower Turf to a new residential site in London. The Caledonian Road development in Islington is the site of 156 new apartments built by Telford Homes, built on a narrow strip of land with SINC (Site of Importance for Natural Conservation) designation and within the vicinity of a Eurotunnel entrance. Check out our case study for this particular project here.

We also sent 650m² of Shade Tolerant Wildflower Turf to our Accredited Partner Frank Adriaenssens in Belgium, and the exclusive Hotel and Members Club Soho Farmhouse took their first shipment of over 1,350m² of Landscape Turf, with the last shipment arriving to them in June, with a view to take more on site before the year is out.

April saw the final delivery of Wildflower Turf to the Rossall Coastal Defence scheme site in Lancashire. With a new sea wall finally finished after 4 years in construction, the immediate coastal grasslands were in dire need of remediation and rejuvenation. This particular project saw us provide 28,000m² of Bespoke grown turf over an 11-month period.

Our Production Team were kept very busy this month, as April also saw us provide Accredited Partners Turney Landscapes with 2,350m² of Wildflower Turf Roof Turf, destined to cap off an exit shaft at the Canning Town Crossrail, Limmo Penninsula. (You can read more about this project here.)

Image supplied by Turney Landscapes Ltd

We also commenced our first shipment of turf to Cornwall Council for their GI4G project, and we worked with Filmscapes on an order destined for the movie, The Secret Garden, starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters.

May saw the Wildflower Turf Ltd team holding Accreditation Days at both our Hampshire and Yorkshire sites, and we’re thrilled to have welcomed 71 new Accredited Partners into the fold this year.

Our training room in Hampshire

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show always creeps up quickly, and this year appeared to be no different! We supplied Butter Wakefield Garden Design with 6m² of Wildflower Show Turf;  Butter was invited by Gaze Burvill to design the trade stand for their 25th Anniversary year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which resulted in Butter being awarded “5 Stars” together with the much coveted “Best Trade Stand” by the RHS Judges.

We also managed a few minutes of YouTube fame courtesy of Kirk Hardes of Growing Native. We supplied Kirk with 700m² of Native Enriched turf that was installed as part of a fantastic project at Paglesham in Essex. The video detailing the project is well worth a view, check it out here.

Accredited Partner Kirk Hardes – Growing Native

The Beast from the East was long forgotten once June rolled around and the country was gripped by a heatwave.  Thanks to the drought-tolerant nature of wildflower meadows, we saw only minimal watering required and once again wildflowers up and down the country have proved their worth.

We went back to school in June and were delighted to hear that Frimley Junior School (who we supplied 80m² of Landscape Turf to back in March) had scooped up an RHS Green Garden award as they also celebrated their 150-year anniversary.

This month also saw us working with Accredited Partner N T Killingley Ltd to supply 7,400m² of Bespoke Turf for a project at the University of Nottingham.

The temperatures continued to climb in July but that didn’t stop us!

The dates for the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival were circled in red and we supplied 40m² of Show Turf to the 30th Anniversary Countryfile Garden, designed by Ann-Marie Powell. We were fortunate enough to attend the opening event where we were thrilled to meet RHS director Sue Biggs, as well as Nicki Chapman and Tom Heap from Countryfile.

RHS Hampton Court – The lovely Nicki Chapman with Claire & Becs

We were well represented at this year’s Garden Festival; we also supplied 900m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf and 80m² of Wildflower Annuals Earth to Historic Royal Palaces for the Battlefield to Butterflies Garden, as well as providing 70m² of Show Turf to the main sponsored garden, the Viking Cruises Nordic Lifestyle Garden.

Historic Royal Palaces – Battlefield to Butterflies Garden

And if that wasn’t enough, our turf featured in Carnaby Street (cleverly renamed Carnabee Street) in July as part of Bees’ Needs Week.

August saw us attend the opening of the Brunel House student residence in Bristol. The excellent landscaping now in place was designed by the RG Group (under the guidance of Colorado Goldwyn), who were the overall winners of the 2017 CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge. The RG Group were the recipients of 200m² of turf supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd (as part of our sponsorship of these awards which encourage the construction industry to embrace biodiversity), and it was wonderful to see the turf being utilised to improve the urban biodiversity of this particular project.

Brunel House Courtyard after – Picture supplied by Paul Groom

Enjoying the lovely summer, we found ourselves well above par (!) when we supplied 450m² of Wildflower Turf Roof Turf to Seaford Head Golf Club through Accredited Partner Landscape 2000 and Bury Hill Landscape Supplies.

September was certainly a social month for the team with Becs attending the 2018 CIRIA Big Biodiversity Awards (and congratulations to the overall winners, Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, who will receive 200m² of Wildflower Turf as their prize), and, a little closer to home, the opening of the Basingstoke Peace Garden.

Our very own Becs presenting at the CIRIA Big Biodiversity Awards

We were also thrilled to receive an update from the founder of Parkinsons.Me, Ewan Stutt. After two years of hard work by a group of committed volunteers, the Parkinsons.Me community garden in West Lockinge, Oxfordshire was officially opened in September. You can read more about this wonderful, therapeutic space which features our wildflowers, on our blog.

Picture supplied by Parkinsons.me

The team were also kept busy this month preparing a large delivery of 1,050m² of Landscape Turf to Cox Landscapes for use at the Barking Riverside residential project in East London.

And if that wasn’t enough, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Ashley Manor wildflower meadow in the Test Valley. This is a very special garden and it was so pleasing to hear that the Wildflower Turf meadow continues to thrive and offer a home to wildlife, a full ten years after installation. We blogged about this meadow recently, you can read more here.

October saw us ship 863m² of Native Enriched Turf, 1,756m² of SUDs Turf and 123m² of Shade Tolerant Turf, on behalf of Accredited Partners Ground Control, to Jaguar Land Rover. The automotive giant is in the middle of a £200m redevelopment of its existing design and engineering centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire, with the landscaping of the new campus grounds now underway.

We also enjoyed attending the Saltex Turf Management Show in October, renewing old acquaintances and making some new friends along the way.

In November we worked with Sally Marshall Garden Design to supply 1,400m² of Native Enriched Turf to a new concept restaurant in the Holme Valley, called Devour. Formally a disused mill, this project will feature food production, a restaurant, an Italian delicatessen, a cookery school and a barista café. And of course, some gorgeous wildflowers!

Picture from Instagram @devourdaily

We also recently shipped 1,235m² of Landscape Turf to Portsea Island, Portsmouth, after receiving an order from Goddards Landscape Contractors Ltd. Helen received the PO almost two years to the day after LDA Design contacted us initially to help with this major Coastal Flood Erosion Risk Management. You can read more about the North Portsea Island project here.

And so, in a whirlwind, we reach December! Our turf is about to be laid at the newly refurbished Darwin Escapes Norfolk Woods site in Norfolk, with the holiday park due to reopen again in January 2019.

Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa during construction.

We’ve also just supplied 1,920m² of turf to Scofell Landscapes. This order will be used as part of a SUDs project at an ongoing Berkeley Homes project in Fleet.

Phew, and that’s only some of our customers and their projects! What a productive year we have had. Now it’s time for a mince pie (ok, possibly two or maybe even three) as we bid 2018 a fond farewell. We wish you and your loved ones a safe and memorable festive season and we look forward to seeing you back here on the Wildflower Turf Ltd Blog in the New Year!

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Ten out of Ten for Test Valley Meadow

A question we are often asked is, “What is the potential longevity of my wildflower meadow?” And our answer is, “It will be indefinite, if maintained well!”

Ten years ago, we worked with Accredited Partner Bill Welling from Lawn Man to enhance Ashley Manor in Hampshire and we were delighted to recently receive an update from Ashley Manor Head Gardener, Olly Samways. A decade on, the Ashley Manor meadow continues to thrive and delight.

Ashley Manor is a Grade II listed building, situated in the Test Valley. The original landscaping project was to cover the fairly steep banks to the rear of Ashley Manor with Wildflower Turf. The banks were south and west facing, in two tiers, and the Test Valley location meant they had chalky soil with only a thin layer of top soil to work with.

Bank below Ashley Manor

In September 2008, 655m² of Wildflower Turf was laid and, despite the challenging profile of the banks, the turf went down well and did not require any pegging. The September installation also meant that the turf did not require any additional watering.

Wildflower Turf being laid

The turf rooted in quickly and established itself well over the winter months, flowering beautifully in the spring and summer of 2009. Red Campion did particularly well on the lower slopes, and the turf also acted very successfully as a weed suppressing mat.

Picture taken June 2009 – 9 months on from laying

Following the first, very successful year, the meadow also formed a home to a number of invertebrates and mammals, with voles and slow worms taking up residence. Over the past decade, the meadow has continued to provide safe haven for an abundance of wildlife.

June 2015

Ten years of meadow management has also given Oliver plenty of time to trial and perfect his cutting regime.

Initially, a two-cut approach was used, with Oliver finding that this provided the longest period of overall flowering in the early years of the meadow. Likewise, this two-cut regime helped with the initial establishment of the late season varieties in the turf, as well as removing old growth that would have otherwise started to compost and raise nutrient levels by the autumn. As part of this regime, the first cut was usually late June or early July, just after the ox-eye daisies were turning.

Picture taken July 2009 – just before 2nd cut

However, in recent years Olly has swapped to a one-cut, with the meadow not seeming to require the additional cut as it has matured.

Turf looking amazing in 2018 – 10 Years on!

“Our experience with our Wildflower Turf has been excellent over the last decade, so I have no reservations at all about waxing lyrical about it to anyone who asks about it! Whenever I give tours around the garden, the wildflower areas continue to draw the most interest, as they have done every year since the turf was installed…”

Ollly Samways

Ashley Manor, Hampshire

September 2018

10 years on

 So, rest assured, Wildflower Turf does indeed provide excellent meadow longevity. Indeed, our own oldest area of wildflowers on the farm has already reached the ripe old age of 15 years old and still continues to flourish.

A great example of a 10 year old perennial Wildflower Turf meadow!

Our thanks to Olly for his recent updates and here’s wishing the Ashley Manor Meadow a very happy Ten-Year Anniversary!

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Basingstoke and Deane Peace Garden

With this year’s International Day of Peace falling on September 21, we were thrilled to attend the opening of a very special local garden in the Basingstoke War Memorial Park.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON
www.stphotos.co.uk

The overriding aim of the Peace Garden Project is to create a lasting celebration of peace and reconciliation which will provide a relaxing space in memory of all who suffered in past conflicts and which reflects hopes for lasting peace in the future.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON
www.stphotos.co.uk

The garden features a circular paved space with a central metal sphere, and pebble seating and benches surrounded by trees and wildflowers. Ten peace plaques designed by local schoolchildren have also been set into the ground.

PICS BY STEWART TURKINGTON
www.stphotos.co.uk

The garden project was conceived in 2014 during the time of the commemoration of the centenary of the start of WW1, with project volunteers working closely with Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council to design the space.

Funding was raised via the Council’s Local Infrastructure Fund, as well as a number of donations received from local organisations and businesses. Likewise, time, skills and materials were also donated to help the project to fruition.

The spring months of April and May 2018 saw the planting of a grove of birch trees, numerous shrubs at the rear of the garden, bulbs and, of course, wildflowers supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd!

Wildflower Meadow still flowering on 21st September

The project team originally purchased 50m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf and 450m² Wildflower Earth Landscape, with the initial installation proving so successful that they subsequently ordered an additional 80m² of Wildflower Earth Landscape Turf to enhance the project further.

Despite a long and dry summer, the wildflowers were still looking very colourful at the opening thanks to watering attention provided by the Council’s Operations Team.

Wildflowers looking great for the opening

Of particular interest to many attending the opening was a commemorative memorial to pioneering surgeon, Sir Harold Gillies. A New Zealander, Sir Harold Gillies was present in Basingstoke during and after the Second World War and was instrumental in developing plastic surgery techniques for those wounded in battle, improving both physical and psychological rehabilitation.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON
www.stphotos.co.uk

The sculpted bust of Sir Harold Gillies was commissioned by the Rooksdown Club and produced by talented artist and sculptor, Julia Beer. In attendance to see the unveiling of the sculpture was Tom Gillies, a great-grandson of Sir Harold, as well as other members of the Gillies family who travelled from New Zealand to attend the garden opening.

For more details on this tranquil space visit:  https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/peacegarden

 

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Parkinsons.Me Therapeutic Community Garden

 Among their many benefits, the aesthetics of wildflowers and the associated joy that they bring cannot be understated. We were reminded of this recently during a conversation with Ewan Stutt, founder of the charity, Parkinsons.Me.

Joined by a group of committed volunteers, Ewan is the driving force behind the Parkinsons.Me Therapeutic Community Garden.

Picture from Parkinsons.me

Located in West Lockinge, Oxfordshire, this community garden project has been two years in the making and was officially opened by Paul Mayhew-Archer (writer, producer, and script editor for the BBC) on Saturday, 15th September 2018.

Picture from Parkinsons.me

Ewan himself was just 41 when, in 2013, he was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. Ewan subsequently founded Parkinsons.Me, a charity established to offer positive support and advice to families affected by Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease, which mainly affects people over 50, is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. Many people associate three motor symptoms with Parkinson’s; the tremor, slow movement and stiff inflexible muscles. However, many hidden symptoms such as loss of smell, anxiety, and depression are often overlooked.

Picture from Parkinsons.me

Ewan focusses on keeping on top of his condition with a clear focus on nutrition and exercise and, inspired by his own personal experience, conceived the notion of a dedicated space that could be enjoyed by others with the condition and their families, as well as the wider community.

Central to the conception of the garden space was a focus on three central pillars: community and interaction, exercise, and healthy eating and nutrition.

Originally beginning life as a small area at the rear of an allotment, the Parkinson’s.Me Therapeutic Community Garden now covers two-thirds of an acre and sits on land owned by the Lockinge Estate.

The garden design and planning process covered a period of 18 months and, following council approval in December 2017, the real work began. With numerous paths and different garden areas running the length and breadth of the space there was plenty to do!

Picture from Parkinsons.me

Volunteers cleared over 10 tonnes of green waste from the site, filling several skips in the process. Planting began in earnest in April 2018, with a number of suppliers donating to the project in order to bring the therapeutic garden to life.

Key to the design itself was the necessity to ensure that the designated area blended with its surrounds while ensuring that the garden also maintained its therapeutic value. The space is adjacent to a bridle path and community woodland and so naturalistic options were sought. During his many hours of garden research Ewan stumbled upon the Wildflower Turf Instagram account (@wildflower2072) and, impressed with what he saw, made contact with the Wildflower Turf team.

Picture from Parkinsons.me

After considering the various wildflower options available to them the Community Garden project team settled on Wildflower Earth Landscape 34 as the best-fit for the space in question and, following the purchase of 80m² of Wildflower Earth Landscape 34, installation occurred in May 2018. Despite a long, hot summer the resulting array of wildflowers has been exceptional, a testament to the drought-tolerant nature of the medium used.

Pictures from Parkinsons.me

The wildflowers have provided colour, interest and visual stimulation over the summer months and their dynamic nature has been much commented upon. We are delighted that wildflowers have played such a central role within this important community garden project and we look forward to sharing further updates with you as the garden develops and alters over the next few seasons.

For further information on the Therapeutic Community Garden, visit https://PdotMe.garden/more-information 

“The wildflower meadow has been the star attraction of the garden this year offering an endless variety of colour, textures and visual stimulation from early June and continues to show well today (September 25)!!

Ewan Stutt

Founder – Parkinsons.Me

 

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Proudly Supporting the CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge

As the leading supplier of Wildflower Turf products in the UK, we are passionate about supporting and encouraging action that promotes and improves biodiversity within the urban environment.

 To this end we’re delighted to announce that, as in previous years, Wildflower Turf Ltd will be the overall prize sponsor at the CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards.  Now in its 5th year, the BIG Biodiversity Challenge invites the construction industry to add at least one new biodiversity enhancement to construction sites, developments or existing buildings.

With 2018 entries drawn from the likes of Skanska, Network Rail and Scottish and Southern Electricity, just to name a few, it is clear that engaging with the biodiversity agenda is of great concern, and indeed importance, to organisations up and down the country.

With voting (http://www.bigchallenge.info/2018-shortlisted-entries) for this year’s BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards now open, we thought it an opportune time to bring you a brief update on how last year’s overall winners, The RG Group (http://rg-group.co.uk/), utilised their prize.

The RG Group and guests at Brunel House, Bristol. Picture supplied by Paul Groom

The RG Group are construction specialists primarily focussed on the Living Space, Retail and Commercial sectors. Their 2017 winning submission saw them receive 200m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf  (http://bit.ly/2qjfTDy) alongside specialist consultancy from the Wildflower Turf Ltd team and two spaces on our highly acclaimed Accredited Partners Programme. (http://bit.ly/2pNEOQk)

With ecological considerations firmly at the forefront of their minds, the RG Group, in conjunction with Sustainability Consultant, Colorado Goldwyn from EQ Consultancy (http://www.eq-consultancy.co.uk/), used their prize to enhance the environment of a very important urban biodiversity project in Bristol.

Before shot of the site – picture supplied by Paul Groom

Formally offices and now a new Unite Students property, Brunel House in Bristol has been transformed and will house 246 students who will also enjoy a landscape that offers an urban habitat for insects, bees and other wildlife.

Courtyard after – Picture supplied by Paul Groom

As well as the initial prize allocation of 200m² of Wildflower Turf, the scope and requirements of the project was such that the RG Group also added an additional 120m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf  (http://bit.ly/2qjfTDy) and 385m² of Wildflower Turf Species Rich (http://bit.ly/2Q1ndRO) into the landscape design.

Landscaping complete – Picture supplied by Paul Groom

Under the guidance of EQ Consultancy, local wildlife habitats have been protected and extended with the project on track to receive an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating. Colorado introduced the idea of incorporating a wildflower meadow within the landscaping design with a specific focus on assisting the rare Carrot Mining Bee and Small Blue Butterfly. In collaboration with the RSPB  (https://www.rspb.org.uk/a number of other recommended ecological initiatives were also defined and adopted as part of the design.

Bespoke sculpture in grounds – Picture supplied by Paul Groom

The project was very much a collaborative effort and meeting of minds with Olivia Damsell from FPCR Environment and Design Ltd (https://www.fpcr.co.uk/) designing the site and Jon King and his team from East Midlands Landscaping Ltd  (https://www.eastmidlandslandscaping.co.uk/) installing the Wildflower Turf to specification. Likewise, Gill Perkins of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/) was instrumental in providing assistance to the project team.

It is anticipated that the local student population will benefit, not only from the beautifully landscaped areas that will promote wellbeing and social interaction, but by gaining a sense of responsibility as they become interested in, and involved with, the protection of local wildlife.

Interpretation Board – Picture supplied by Paul Groom

The biodiversity initiatives put in place have also met with much praise with local MP’s (both Species Champions) and community members showing a real interest in the outcome of the landscaping project.

We were ourselves privileged to recently attend the launch of Brunel House and took a tour of the enhanced landscape. Aesthetics aside, the ecological prosperity that a wildflower meadow can bring cannot be understated, and urban biodiversity projects such as this stretch widely to encompass both social and health benefits.

Our Business Development Manager Helen discussing the site with Jon King from East Midlands Landscaping Ltd – picture supplied by Paul Groom

For further information on the CIRIA BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards, and to cast your vote (http://www.bigchallenge.info/2018-shortlisted-entries) visit (http://www.bigchallenge.info/)

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with the Wildflower Turf Ltd team on the Brunel House project.  The combination of Wildflower Turf Landscape Turf and Species Rich Turf pulled the landscaping scheme together beautifully and allowed for a flow of biodiversity throughout the differing levels of the landscape design. Wildflower Turf Ltd were very knowledgeable and helpful, contributing proposals and ideas as to how to enable the best biodiversity and the team readily made themselves available for consultation throughout the lifespan of the project. I would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the Wildflower Turf Ltd team in the future.”

Colorado Goldwyn

Sustainability Consultant

EQ Consultancy

 

 

 

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