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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Wildflowers Unite A Community (Part Two)

The second installment of our tale of a community that has come together to transform their communal space. And won a Green Flag Community Award to boot!

The Katherine Buchan Meadow in Ealing, London had received enough funding to ensure that the key elements of their rejuvenation project were able to be completed. So where next for the project team?

With funding from Ealing Council’s “Transform Your Space” programme now confirmed, further community consultation was undertaken by the project team of Amanda and Sim, and landscaping preparation was able to be finalised.

Work begins – Picture supplied by Amanda Rutkowski

Central to the green was a large mound. Delving into the annals of local history revealed that the mound itself dated from the 1970’s, but the resulting rubble contained within was dated much earlier. In 1876, four Alms Houses for single women of the parish were built by one Katherine Buchan, in honour of her father, also a local charitable figure.

When these Alms Houses were demolished in 1976, the resulting rubble was disposed of nearby, with the surrounding area turned into a green space. (Fittingly, the new meadow is named after, and celebrates, the life and community spirit of Katherine Buchan.)

The final plan for the rejuvenated space included; re-routing and relaying the main path around the mound, create a stag beetle habitat, the installation of a tree seat, removal of tired shrubs, the creation of a substantial and welcoming curved seating area and, central to the project, the laying of a wildflower meadow.

Curved seating area supplied by Streetlife

As well as providing much needed funding, Ealing Council were also instrumental in assisting the steering group with support and advice, with the Council working in partnership to see the project realised.

And every step of the way the local community was invited to become involved with leaflets distributed, social media utilised and local consultation meetings held regularly.

After a busy 12 months of planning and community consultation, the 12th of February 2017 heralded in “Breaking Ground Day”.  With the help of over 30 members of the local community (and children and four-legged friends) much of the area was stripped of unwanted and neglected material.

Following on from this initial day of clearing, further working parties made up of local community members were organised for volunteer days during February and March of 2017.

As well as the incredible progress made during the community working party days, Sim and his team of two completed the hard and soft landscaping of the site, which included the installation of a 14-metre feature bench (supplied by Streetlife (https://www.streetlife.nl/en) in Holland) and a wildflower meadow supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd.

Wildflower Turf ready to be laid.

Working with the project’s collaborative partner, Ealing Council, Wildflower Turf Ltd provided 289m² of Border Turf and 200m² of Wildflower Earth Flora Britannica, with installation occurring in March 2017. The Wildflower Turf Ltd Team also provided technical support to the project and landscaping teams to ensure that installation of the Wildflower Turf and Wildflower Earth was swift and straightforward.

Wildflower Earth bags.

With a very dry end to the 2017 winter, locals committed to a roster for watering-in the newly laid Wildflower Turf and Wildflower Earth and within a short space of time the wildflower meadow was blooming.

Meadow in bloom – picture supplied by Amanda Rutkowski

The dedication shown by local members of the community and Sim and his landscaping team made it possible for the site to be quickly completed and the Katherine Buchan Meadow was officially declared open on the 9th April 2017.

Local businesses donated food and drink, the local ukulele group provided musical accompaniment, and the community came out in force to support and embrace the uplifting changes that had been made to their shared space.

Official opening of Katherine Buchan Meadow

Today, the Katherine Buchan Meadow is maintained by a local band of volunteers, with working parties attending to the maintenance of the area every 8-12 weeks. With the space now opened-up vandalism has been non-existent, and the green is now a calm and communal space with locals taking time to sit awhile and enjoy the beautiful landscaping. Thanks to Amanda and Sim’s vision and dedication, the project has transformed a once-neglected space into a glorious wildflower meadow which takes pride of place in the heart of this local community.

Wildflowers in bloom – pictures supplied by Paul James

Further testament to the impact of the Katherine Buchan Meadow is the recent achievement of a Green Flag Community Award (http://www.greenflagaward.org.uk/which was bestowed in July 2018, and saw the project painstakingly assessed against a set of 24 different criteria. Likewise, the team are also awaiting news as to their entry into the RHS Gardening ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition.

Huge congratulations must go to Amanda, Sim and the dedicated community who have worked so tirelessly to bring about such a fundamental change. It’s been an honour to be involved in this project and we look forward to sharing further updates as the Katherine Buchan Meadow continues to mature and evolve.

 

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Wildflowers Unite A Community (Part One)

Receiving news last week that the Katherine Buchan Meadow in London has been awarded a Green Flag Community Award, we thought it was high time we featured the story of how this delightful meadow came about.

The Katherine Buchan Meadow in Ealing, London, is testament to what can be achieved when a local community comes together with a shared desire to enhance their local environment.

Once a bustling and busy, yet very neglected space within the Old Hanwell conservation area, the green has been transformed into a beautiful wildflower meadow which has become a local hub for those who live and work nearby.

A place for all – Picture supplied by Paul James

With a location close to Ealing’s St Mark’s primary school and boasting a historical Victorian church building as a backdrop, the meadow has sympathetically transformed the space into which it has been installed.

Previously the area was treated solely as a thoroughfare; dog walkers, locals on their way to or from work, children and the families rushing to and from school, and local residents on their way to the nearby canal or local allotment all rushed through the green. Sadly, there was little on offer to encourage anyone to dwell.  

The green before – Picture supplied by Paul James

Exhibiting a forgotten air the green was also often the home of anti-social behaviour, with discarded rubbish and vandalism commonplace.

Discarded rubbish – picture supplied by Paul James

However, all of that changed in 2014 when a project to regenerate the green was launched and championed by long-term local resident, Amanda Rutkowski.

Amanda saw the potential to open-up and transform the green into a beautiful, light, airy space that would enhance the experience of all who passed through whilst also introducing and encouraging a diversity of wildlife to the area.

Bee on Ragged Robin – Picture supplied by Paul James

Additionally, Amanda saw an opportunity to create a truly communal space connecting the local community and St Marks Primary school through research, development and stewardship of the green.

Amanda’s garden design and horticultural background played a large part in shaping her vision for the green and she took her initial thoughts to a local neighbour for his input. Little did he know it at the time, but award-winning designer and landscaper Sim Flemons was soon to join Amanda as co-founder of the project.

Amanda and Sim pooled their ideas and expertise and developed a brief for the project which they circulated amongst the local community. Feedback for the rejuvenation plans was extremely positive, however a lack of funding was the key constraint for moving the project from conceptual stage to reality.

Encouraging community involvement – picture supplied by Paul James

In 2015, the opportunity for funding assistance arose via Ealing Council’s “Transform Your Space” programme, an initiative championed by cabinet member Bassam Mahfouz. As part of the criteria for funding consideration the project team was invited to mount a campaign and obtain public support for the project via SpaceHive https://www.spacehive.com/creating-katherine-buchan-meadow-tys2

The next step in the process was for Amanda and Sim to transform their vison into a workable design, and a formalised framework was drawn-up which allowed the project to be costed-out and material options considered. A social media campaign was also launched to assist with garnering public interest and support and to encourage donations to the crowdfunding appeal.

In early 2016, Amanda and Sim were invited to formally present the project to Ealing Council. After meeting the Council’s challenge to raise £1000.00 in crowdfunding, the project was awarded £46,300, and in March 2016 the Katherine Buchan Meadow Trust was officially formed.

So, what now for our intrepid team? What do Alms Houses have to do with wildflowers? All will be revealed in Part Two of our blog, stay tuned!

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All Aboard the Wildflower Train

The Wildflower Turf Ltd team are very proud to see our Hampshire-grown wildflowers playing their part in the regeneration of Canning Town as part of London’s ambitious Crossrail project.

Set to open in December 2018, Crossrail will deliver a high frequency, high capacity service to make travelling in the capital quicker and easier while also easing congestion and reducing crowding on London’s transport network.

Working with one of our landscaping partners, Turney Landscapes Ltd, our very own Wildflower Turf is now capping the emergency exit shaft of the Crossrail site in the Limmo Peninsula.

Wildflower Roof Turf being laid in March 2018

Turney Landscapes Ltd laying Wildflower Roof Turf .

As Crossrail’s primary worksite for their eastbound tunnel boring machines, the Limmo Peninsula area adjoins Canning Town underground and Docklands Light Railway station and is next to the River Lee.

Overlooked by high-rise developments, a key consideration in planning for the Limmo Peninsula area has focussed on ensuring biodiverse solutions that provide commuters, local workers and Canning Town residents alike with a landscape that is as aesthetically pleasing as possible as well as providing a suitable habitat for wildlife.

Ragged Robin on the Limmo Peninsula site taken in mid May – picture supplied by Turney Landscapes Ltd

Wildflower Roof Turf in flower early June – Picture supplied by Turney Landscapes Ltd

Turney Landscapes have been a Tier 2 contractor with engineering joint-venture contractors Skanska-Costain JV since 2015, where their initial brief was to create a green space on the Headhouse shaft of the Mile End Crossrail site. (The Mile End project involved creating a large bund to hide the concrete Headhouse and then creating a green space with tree and shrub planting, attenuation and footpaths, and a wildflower meadow supplied by Wildflower Turf Ltd.)

Following the successful completion of Mile End, Turney Landscapes were then briefed to carry out works on the Limmo Peninsula site. This large scale project included gabion basket walls with large areas of Grasscrete for parking, a tarmac path (escape route), site entrance , an access road and biodiverse soft landscaping over the shaft head itself. Wildflower Turf Ltd were once again delighted to assist with the enhancement of the area and worked closely with the Turney’s team to ensure that strict site requirements were met.

Turney Landscapes installed 2,600m² of Wildflower Turf Ltd’s Roof Turf  – http://bit.ly/2uLN0WK in March and April of this year, across and down the sloping 8-metre-high exit shaft. At the time of writing, the wildflower meadow is at waist height in full flower, and already providing a haven for wildlife.

Ox Eye daisy taken in early June – Picture supplied by Turney Landscapes Ltd

“Wildflower Turf Ltd. were instrumental in providing us with the product we required in a timely and professional manner. Despite a challenging sloping site and strict on site Health & Safety rules, the installation of the Wildflower Turf was very straightforward, and our task was made easier with the support of the Wildflower Turf team and the high quality of the product supplied.”

“Working on such a large-scale and time-critical site as the Limmo Peninsula, it is crucial that our suppliers are able to adapt to many and varied requirements. The team at Wildflower Turf Ltd. assisted us to ensure that this project was delivered on time and in budget, and the resulting wildflower meadow is already providing a spectacular display of colour and habitat for wildlife.”

Steve Turney, Director, Turney Landscapes Ltd

 

 

 

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Nature Deficit Disorder. It’s time to reconnect.

With longer days on the horizon and Easter now almost upon us, you’d be forgiven for thinking that spring, that much lauded of seasons, is just around the corner. We can only hope!

After a long winter many of us yearn for some time spent outdoors in nature but what happens when we lack this most basic commodity?

The term “Nature Deficit Disorder” has been around since 2005, but the phenomenon has only recently started to make headlines.

The term itself refers to a trend towards an increased alienation from the natural world, brought about by our increasing dependency on electronic devices and a loss of natural surroundings. Specifically, it is the costs of such an alienation that is sparking concerns.

While not a medically recognised disorder as such, the term is beginning to gain some prominence, with Dr Ross Cameron of the department of landscape at Sheffield University recently addressing The Royal Horticultural Society on the subject.

“As biological beings we are physiologically adapted to be in certain environments – to run, to play, to hunt, to be active basically,” says Dr Cameron.

The ramifications of a sedentary lifestyle are being felt, not just in Britain, but around the world. As we, and in particular our children, spend more time indoors under artificial lights plugged into our electronic landscape, our lack of affinity with our natural surroundings has the potential to bring about low mood and a reduced attention span.

So how best to address the imbalance?

The Royal Horticultural Society has the following recommendations for reconnecting with nature:

  • Any green environment – from pot plants to weeds – can provide green space that attracts wildlife and exposes people to the benefits of the natural world.
  • Some green spaces are better than others – for example, small-leaved conifers such as the Scots pine and Junipers are good at capturing pollutant particles.
  • Fast-growing trees such as the Paulownia and Catalpa can lock up excess soil nitrates.

In conjunction with the above recommendations, wildflowers offer a low-maintenance, high-return option for enhancing environments. Whether it be a full meadow or a splash of colour within an urban landscape setting, wildflowers are easily adapted to a myriad of landscapes and also offer the added advantage of providing a bio-diverse habitat for birds, bees and other species.

Similarly, regular followers of this blog will be aware of ongoing studies into the ability of wildflowers to ‘lock-up’ pollution particulates, yet another great reason to maximise the many benefits that wildflowers have to offer.

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Wildflower Turf Ltd Provides Characterful Landscaping to New Development in Crowthorne

With UK construction and associated infrastructure continuing apace, a new development in Berkshire has been a recent project for Wildflower Turf Ltd.

Buckler’s Park in Crowthorne, Berkshire, is located on the former Transport Research Laboratory site and is comprised of 1,000 high-quality, contemporary-styled homes.

Adjacent to a new country park and with over 100 acres of parkland and open space, several key areas of the site are now enhanced with wildflowers provided by Wildflower Turf Ltd.

Bucklers Park, Crowthorne – Picture supplied by Benchmark Grounds Maintenance Ltd

The developers of Buckler’s Park, Legal & General Homes, have aimed to provide a sustainable environment that is in keeping with the natural areas that border the development. To ensure a seamless transition, Legal & General Homes specified wildflowers within the designated Public Open Space area of their design and contactors, Benchmark Grounds Maintenance Ltd (http://www.benchmark-gm.co.uk/) contacted Wildflower Turf Ltd for advice and assistance.

In November 2017, Wildflower Turf Ltd supplied 950m² of Border Non-Native turf to the project, with installation completed by Benchmark Grounds Maintenance Ltd.

Border Turf – Picture supplied by Benchmark Grounds Maintenance Ltd

Border Non-Native turf was installed within the specified Public Open Space adjacent to the Show Homes, providing the area with some wildflower magic! With minimal maintenance required, the turf is looking fantastic and will provide a riot of colour as well as providing a sustainable and bio-diverse habitat for birds, bees and other species.

Border Turf – Picture supplied by Benchmark Grounds Maintenance Ltd

Project Coordinator at Benchmark Grounds Maintenance Ltd, Emma McCarthy, has been thrilled with the ease of installation and resulting appearance, saying, “We were very impressed with the quality of the Wildflower turf and the staff were very accommodating to our needs and requirements. If we require Wildflower turf in the future, we would be more than happy to use this product and company again”.

 

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Wildflower Turf Makes the Grade

Never one to let the grass grow under our feet (!) the Wildflower Turf team have been delighted to assist the University of York enhance their environment as they work towards the completion of new campus facilities.

The University commenced work on the construction of a new building, The Piazza Learning Centre, in Autumn 2015, with the project due to be completed next month. Containing a range of high-quality learning spaces and facilities for those living and studying on the University’s Campus East the new building will offer, among other things, a 350-seat auditorium and a large restaurant with fantastic lake views.

University of York – The Piazza Learning Centre, artist impression

At the outset of the project, the University of York had a very clear and practical biodiversity plan, developed in conjunction with Gordon Eastham (Grounds Maintenance Manager), for the picturesque lakeside campus where the Piazza Building was to be built.

Wildflower Turf laid around landscaping features – picture from J Palmer (Landscapes) Ltd

This part of the campus is a definite natural asset to the University and, whilst they wanted the building to be sympathetic to the local landscape, it was equally important that it was fully accessible to their student population.

To enhance the natural environment and in keeping with the University’s biodiversity plan, Wildflower Turf has supplied over 1,800m² of our unique Native Enriched Wildflower Turf to the project. The Wildflower Turf was installed in November 2017 and has provided the University with a wonderful and aesthetically pleasing space.

1,800m² Native Enriched Turf installed in November 2017 – picture from J Palmer (Landscapes) Ltd

Additionally, the 50+ species within the turf will help the project to qualify for very good BREEAM standards.

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

Other key parties involved with this project include Interserve Construction Ltd (Design & Build contractors), Race Cottam Associates, (Architects), J Palmers Landscapes (Landscape contractors), and Martin Woolley Landscape Architects.

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