I am fortunate to live a three-minute walk away from Peartree Green local nature reserve, with its wildflowers, bees and butterflies. I know though that there has been a huge decline in pollinating insects in recent years. As I walked around my local area during the first lockdown of 2020, I noticed other places that had wildflowers too. Some are green spaces, such as Freemantle Common, and others are not, like the alleys behind my house.
I’d been reading about Plantlife’s road verges campaign and seeing posts on the Team Wilder Facebook page about things community groups were doing. Campaigns and projects such as Buglife’s B-lines and X-Polli:nation’s Polli Promise also inspired me. The idea of Pollinating Peartree started to take shape through discussions with friends in the area. Pollinating Peartree is a community project to map the existing wildflower areas in the Peartree ward and to create new ones. These areas might be natural, such as on Peartree Green LNR, or sown, as is the case on Veracity Recreation Ground. They can be public spaces or private ones – gardens, car park edges, planters in front of businesses in the shopping area. We want people to not only tell us what is already there but also to let us know about any areas that we could transform into pollinator re-fuelling stops by growing wildflowers.
In October 2020, six of us sowed seeds in three areas near the Itchen Bridge. There were already a few wildflowers there, such as red dead nettle and groundsel, but we hope that in spring, a wider variety will grow, not only helping pollinators but improving the look of the area – as you can see from the photo, it is dominated by concrete.
Our map, created by Mark, already shows nine existing sites, along with three that we hope to sow in spring. One of our group, Eamonn, has secured funding from Southampton City Council’s Community Chest. Our plan is also to mark the sites with small signs featuring Florala‘s design.
We hope that people will join us in sowing seeds when times allow, and that everyone will take pleasure from seeing the flowers – and will also have a greater appreciation of the importance of pollinators.