Photo essay – wildflowers and the Living Countryside Awards
As we begin to look forward to the 2023 Living Countryside Awards, we put the spotlight on the different ways flowers featured in projects entered in the 2021 Awards.
The Ampthill Buzz
“The Ampthill Buzz” project is managed by the Ampthill Climate Change Group which aims to turn selected close-mown turfed areas within the town into wildflower havens.
Ten sites across Ampthill have been chosen with the aim of increasing local floral diversity and invertebrate populations by allowing the urban space to link existing supported habitats including County Wildlife Sites.
Edible High Town
Edible High Town is a group of local residents who have helped transform six bits of disused land to create edible pocket gardens or raised beds around the High Town area.
They help look after a community orchard in People’s Park, grow vegetables and fruit in their community garden, have a pumpkin patch and work with local charity NOAH to support their gardening classes in the raised beds they manage. Edible High Town have taken pieces of land that have often been sites of fly-tipping or misuse and made them places that the community can work together and congregate to share growing skills and learn from each other.
Hay Lane Flowers
Hay Lane Flowers are cut flower growers, growing on a three acre site in Stagsden. They produce a wide range of seasonal cut flowers for the wholesale and retail trade.
Sustainable production techniques are a priority and they work with nature to produce high quality flowers without air miles, needless chemical usage and plastic packaging.
They also work closely with the community, including delivering primary school sessions during wellbeing weeks and with the Kings Arms Project pathways to employment team, giving talks and providing work placements.
Linch Furlong, Community Orchard and Riverside Meadow, Oakley
The project provides public open spaces which are managed to improve biodiversity. Three grassed areas have been transformed into environmentally friendly public spaces.
Wild flower areas have been planted in all three sites and the flowers used are tailored to the differing soil type of each site. Areas of long grass are mown and left to dry so that the seeds drop and are then collected but left on site in specific areas to provide habitats for invertebrates.
Timber from tree works is left in situ to provide habitats for wildlife. The community orchard has been planted with heritage fruit trees which, as far as possible, are native to Bedfordshire. In 2020 several hundred pyramidal orchids flowered in Linch Furlong and they were seen for the first time in the Orchard and Riverside Meadow.
Penrose Roots Community Based Recovery Services
Penrose Roots connects with marginalized individuals who would not normally use nature, gardens or the great outdoors to improve their lives, working with the socially isolated, those with mental health, learning disabilities and the general public to create an inclusive community by gardening. They have a community garden and also support and assist other growing initiatives across Luton.
They recently assisted in planting a hedgerow in an area where they will be helping local residents make use of a space that locals have used as a fly tipping area for some years in to a thriving community garden.
All the photos featured in this piece were taken by Barry Halton, who has been capturing the Living Countryside Awards for CPRE Bedfordshire since they began in 2008.