23 February 2012 By Billy Hawkins
There has been a real sense of creative botanical and horticultural purpose at Torberry this week.
Billy Showell has been here with a group of artists from all ability ranges, painting stunning tulips which she carefully bound up so that they would not open whilst being painted. A very professional and clever device which ensures the artist has a sustained period of time to capture the likeness of the flower.
Sarah Raven was looking to do exactly the opposite on Wednesday night on BBC2 in her wonderful new programme which looks at bringing bees, butterflies and pollinators back into urban areas. Essentially the point was made that flowers need to be open with their pollen sacks displayed, rather than a modern highly inbred flower which is compact and “closed” to pollinators. It was interesting that the greater number of the general public questioned preferred her wildlife attracting inner city flower bed to the traditional begonia structured look. I for one agree, and I’m looking to the allotments here at Torberry to see how we can try and recreate our own patch of meadow-style flowers to attract pollinators in. There’s nothing like a British Bumble Bee to cheer the soul!
We are fortunate to have Marina Christopher from Phoenix Perennials visiting us soon on March 8th for our Gardener’s Question Time, her business is borne from this love of plants which attract wildlife and her expertise is enviable.
I shall be aiming to find out her recommendations for the perfect English wildflower mix, Sarah Raven’s favourite was the pastel annual mix, and I think mine might be too. We try to incorporate vegetables into the allotments here, so climbing runner beans with their bright orange and white flowers will create some height.
For more about Marina, click here.