BIODIVERSITY

Tomer Hamlets Homes Grant - 2014

 

At Approach Gardens we have a keen interest in bio-diversity and, with the help of a biodiversity grant from Tower Hamlets Homes, have been working hard to provide new wildlife habitats at Approach Gardens.

Already a thriving community food-growing site, the garden received a wildlife makeover during 2014 and was featured on the Tower Hamlets website.

Find out how this important work has developed below. 

pond   

Wilderness Area With Insect 'Hotel'  (Begun in 2014)

This area has now become the pond area and the wilderness has moved further along (to the left in this picture) around existing trees and shrubs. And behind a new hedgerow of native species.

The liner of the new pond can be seen upturned in this shot. It is now well established and is home to frogs and toads.

The insect colony remains in this area and has now had a good three years to rot down. We have spotted Lesser Stag Beetles but have yet to spot any of the Greater type.

 

     
wild meadow small   

Wild Flower Meadow

Our wildflower meadow was carefully designed to produce a diverse, colourful meadow containing perennial wild flowers with annual flowers added to help ensure a good covering of flowers in the first year.

 

Wild Flower Meadow - 2014

The top soil has been removed from this area and aggregate has been added in order to produce a poor quality, sandy soil. Given the new soil condition, and the fact that the site slopes, we have added a wild flower seed mix intended for a well-draining sandy environment. As per the manufacturer's instructions, we have also added an appropriate amount of annual flower seeds to the mix.

 

 

 
     
wild flower meadow 2015   

Wild Flower Meadow - 2015

As you can see the wild flower meadow project is working really well - in just one year we have a variety of different plants and a beautiful show of annuals




     
 bees  

Bee Houses! 

We fitted two houses suitable for mason/solitary bees.  These are located on the wall that separates Approach Gardens with our local school.

In the picture you can also see the second of our two bee houses.



Compost bins   

Composting System 2014- as Part of Biodiversity Grant Project


We spent time organising our compost system (including making signs in English and Bengali) to ensure we produce good quality compost. In the picture you can also see the second of our two bee houses.
 

     

Composting System 2016


Despite the number of bins, clearly marked for their purpose, we have found that our original composting system was not properly used.

For 2016, we have built a simpler system of large, open beds.


     
sunflower  

Sunflowers and Other Bee-Friendly Planting

In 2014 we took part on a scheme to grow sunflowers around the garden with 50 or 60 plants reaching maturity!

Everybody loves sunflowers and we’ve grown them each year since. But, we also grow plenty of other flowering plants with the intention of helping the bees thrive. We have lavenders, rosemary plants, and other large flowering herb patches which seem particularly well used. Many of our gardeners let a plant or two from their own vegetable crops go to flower and this ensures a wide variety of pollens for the bees and other pollinators.


 

 

Native Hedging

In 2015 we were lucky enough to win 250 native hedging plants in the best4hedging facebook competition. We received six native species of plant including Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Dog Rose, Wild Cherry, Wild Maple, and Hazelnut.

By 2016, the hedging was already well established and encloses the wildlife pond and the new wilderness area adjacent to it.

 

     
 

Climbers

Climbers, including ivy and honeysuckle, have been planted along the whole length of the iron fence railings on the north edge of the site. These are now very well established and give the bees a good supply of food in the later parts of the year.