The Leasowes Walled Garden is joining forces with the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) at this year’s BBC Gardeners’ World Live, taking place at the NEC Birmingham, between 15-18 June. The collaboration came about after the walled garden entered and won the group category of last year’s Wild About Gardens Week ‘Plant a bat feast’ photo competition, organised by The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), The Wildlife Trusts and Bat Conservation Trust (BCT).
Since winning the competition with its ‘Biodiversity and Bats’ area, created by volunteers, the walled garden has continued to build on its conservation efforts, incorporating a wildlife pond into what will become a beautifully spacious and well-thought-out wildflower meadow. Volunteers and visitors alike are free to take in the peace and quiet of the walled garden and heritage orchard, during designated hours, benefitting from this unique and restorative setting.
Visitors to the show are invited to come along and meet one of several volunteers who will be on hand to talk about the restoration project and this year’s Wild About Gardens ‘Bee Creative’ campaign, or you can pick up tips from a resident bat expert who will be giving talks throughout the duration of the show on stand G425. The walled garden’s display will also feature flowers by husband-and-wife team, Paul and Jo Hill of Brookfield Nurseries, Belbroughton, renowned for their award-winning hanging baskets – key to the success of Halesowen In Bloom’s coveted gold award.
The 18th-century walled garden was created in 1776 by Edward Horne, who took ownership of The Leasowes following the poet and landscape designer William Shenstone. It was purchased in perpetuity for the public, by Halesowen Abbey Trust, in November 2014, and is managed with nature in mind. The site comprises 2 acres of community gardens, maintained by volunteers and funded by welcome charitable donations. Mick Freer, project leader, said: “We are delighted that the Bat Conservation Trust has asked us to participate on their stand and have this opportunity to raise the profile of our conservation work and its continued reliance on funding.”
To make a donation, please visit www.leasoweswalledgarden.co.uk or make cheques payable to Halesowen Abbey Trust and send to 59 The Hawnelands, Halesowen, B63 3RT.
One makeshift meadow sown, and a bug hotel in progress. It’s ironic that it looks heart-shaped from this angle, given that it’s in what you’d call dry shade for the second half of the afternoon, and I could be heading for heartbreak…
But, as there is a real buzz about bees at the moment, I decided to dedicate some of my time towards clearing an awkward and unloved plot of land, at the bottom of the garden, and have set to work transforming it into a wildlife haven.
I’m so pressed for time, right now, and feel like I’m trying to save the world – let alone the bees – but this is really important and if we all do our bit, we will be creating much-needed habitat for our floral foragers and creating a corridor from garden to garden.
The location, it has to be said, is not ideal: it’s at the bottom of a South West facing garden, flanked by a sizeable Silver Fir, and fencing, but as the only available option I’ve done my best to maximise sun exposure, pondering from different angles, and siting key elements accordingly.
It’s far from finished, but as one of 2200 citizen scientists I’ve made a commitment to Blooms for Bees, participating in their Dahlia Mignon Series Trial 2017, and will also be following the Wild About Gardens ‘Bee Creative’ campaign with interest. Watch this space for more news or follow progress on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
Citizen scientists, It has taken just 4 days for the cotyledons to emerge from the testa and make their way to the surface, where they are now making food, by photosynthesis, for the growing seedling, before they are eventually replaced by the true leaves. The red Dahlia ‘Mignon’ is currently winning the race. I wonder which colour will be favoured by the bumblebees! Grown on behalf of Leasowes Walled Garden www.leasoweswalledgarden.co.uk
Blooms for Bees Coventry University Bumblebee Conservation TrustGarden Organic RHS – Royal Horticultural Society Heritage Lottery Fund Halesowen Bloom
Let the trials begin!
White, red or purple Dahlia ‘Mignon’? Place your bets, now!
Dahlia ‘Mignon’ trial seeds 2017 to determine whether the different colours of ‘Mignon’ dahlias vary in their attractiveness to bumblebees, on behalf of Leasowes Walled Garden. www.leasoweswalledgarden.co.uk
Blooms for Bees Coventry University Bumblebee Conservation Trust Garden Organic RHS – Royal Horticultural Society Heritage Lottery Fund