Bees and other pollinating insects have seen an increase in nectar-rich flowers in Victoria Park this year.
The eight flower beds around the Burdett-Coutts fountain have been transformed by a change from annual bedding to nectar-rich perennial planting. This was achieved through late spring and early summer by the park’s gardening team, working with local volunteers and trainees in small, Covid-19 safe groups. The new perennial beds, with a largely white theme including Echinaceas, Gauras, Dahlias and Salvias, look stunning and are atteracting lots of bees and other insects.
Planting perennials instead of annuals is a much more sustainable form of gardening, as it does not require new plants to be brought in twice a year. Some of the plants included in annual bedding schemes are, in fact, perennial, thought they are usually dug up and discarded along with the true annuals. This year, most the perennials in the summer bedding schemes within Victoria Park, notably from the Sunken garden, were rescued and transplanted to rejuvenate two of the large external borders in the Old English Garden. Further plants were added to these beds by dividing a lot of the existing plants in the garden, such as Geraniums, Stachys and Bistort.
More nectar-rich planting is due to take place in the Old English Garden this autumn. This includes a range of shrubs that will largely flower in winter, but also cover early spring and late autumn, to extend the flowering season further. These will, be followed by 30,000 bulbs, including crocus, tulips, snowdrops, bluebells and three types of daffodil, that will flower from January to May and will be left to naturalise in the Old English Garden.
Photos by Ryan Randall