On Friday 21st March 2014, a new Bermondsey Street Bees urban forage initiative came to fruition. Literally.
The first phase of our Leathermarket Gardens project was the planting of 6 varieties of Apple trees and 13 fruiting red and white currant bushes. We started at 10am and completed on schedule at 12 noon.
This plan for a comprehensive greening of a stark and unlovely wall running for over 100 metres on the northern perimeter of Leathermarket Gardens will provide sustainable, diverse forage for bees and other pollinators in the middle of busy Bermondsey, London SE1.
This project has been supported with imagination and commitment by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), who supplied the trees, shrubs and two expert plantswomen, Nicola and Mary. All organised by the boundless enthusiasm of Hej, of course.
There are two more phases planned: delivery of 8 tonnes of soil conditioner and the margin of wildflower sowing is planned for 23rd April and the final phase, the planting of bee-friendly climbers, is scheduled for 1st May. Each and every volunteer is welcome to join us – no need to bring anything with you, apart from a slight inclination to get down and dirty for a couple of hours in a great cause!
The roll of honour for March’s Tree/Shrub planting starts with Bob, who looks after Bermondsey Village Hall and who gave us access to water supplies to get the plantings well established (Thanks also to Christine, for her permission to take the water !)
Then there were Nikki, bee-elegant, as ever, in her pink wellies:
And Mike, whose stake-hammering would put Van Helsing to shame:
Not to mention a
male hairy footed flower bee bee-fly (thanks, Steve Alton!), spotted by Nikki:
Liz put in a supportive appearance “for two”:
And Jon pitched in with a shovel on the brick-rubble-rich soil like a man possessed:
Throughout, we were guided and encouraged by BOST’s finest: Nicola made sure that we were watering properly, while seeming to dig holes in just half the time it took anyone else:
While Mary was quite strict about the proper depth of hole to be excavated while telling us takes of her recent sabbatical, building schools and trekking in Tanzania:
Job done, Nicola and Mary saddled up the BOST battle-bikes:
But not before posing for a celebration with Bermondsey’s own Hiver Beer (which recently won “Britain’s Next Top Supplier” – and is made with Bermondsey Street Honey!)
You will note that, consummate professionals of the gardener’s art, Nicola and Mary’s bottles are unopened in the middle of their working day. My and Mike’s bottles are distinctly open. You can draw your own conclusions….
Now we need to ensure a rigorous watering regime to get the new plantings formly established. Plans are in place to work with Bermondsey Village Hall. All in all, a great local effort which will produce sustainable forage for pollinators, add greenery and character to an urban park and provide a smattering of Bermondsey fruit for residents.
I think that this is the way forward for forage in London! Be part of it: come and join us on 23rd April and 1st May !