A new meadow at Stepney City Farm


Michelle Lindson of the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park writes:

In March/April 2019, “Nature and Us”, a community project by The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park (FoTHCP), delivered a “Growing and Knowing Wildflowers” course at Stepney City Farm. The course ran for six weeks and was a huge success, benefiting FoTHCP, Stepney City Farm and local participants.

Stepney City Farm

Stepney City Farm

To build on this, FoTHCP and Stepney City Farm jointly and successfully applied for a Tower Habitats biodiversity grant from the Tower Hill Trust, for FoTHCP to deliver another wild flower course at the Farm. This would ultimately result in a new wild flower meadow being created by the course’s participants at Stepney City Farm, on land which had recently been returned to them by Crossrail.

The six week “Creating a Wildflower Meadow” course was delivered in February/March 2020, and was a mix of theory and practical work, both indoors and outdoors. It was attended by a fantastic and diverse group of local residents, who had a range of prior gardening experience. Some were complete beginners but, overall, all participants knew very little about wild flowers and creating wild flower meadows.

Volunteers on tea break

Tea break

Participants really enjoyed getting to know each other and during refreshment breaks (photo left) there was always an exciting hum of chatting going on! It was a lovely way for new positive connections to be made within the community.

Participants were enthusiastic and hard working, and by the final session they had created a new wild flower meadow at the Farm. The meadow was planted with a wide variety of plants, including primroses, snowdrops, daffodils, garlic mustard, sweet violets, teasel, ox-eye daisy, black knapweed, chicory and cowslip.

Although the meadow doesn’t look like much at this early stage, we have to be patient and wait for the seeds to sprout and the plants to grow. We won’t see the full flowers of the team’s labour until after a year or two. In the meantime, there will be exciting small-scale changes happening. It will be well worth the wait – especially for pollinators!

All photos by Michelle Lindson. Click photos to enlarge

Mixing seed into soil

Mixing seed

Volunteers sowing wildflower seed

Sowing seed

Volunteers planting wild flowers

Planting celandines

Volunteers lining up

Volunteers line up – job done!


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