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Flowers Can Talk

Flowers Really Do Talk!

We all love a flower, especially in Wimbledon Town Centre, and increasing the amount of planting is a great way to bring in life, colour, nature and biodiversity. But what if there was something different to a flower bed? What if the plants could grow from a lamppost? And what if the plants could tell you when they needed watering?

Business Improvement District Love Wimbledon thought we would give it a go, after local urban greening company Scotscape contacted us about their new LivingPillar™.

A new vertical LivingPillar™ has been created in Wimbledon Town Centre, acting as a trial,  the first of its kind in South London. Packed with petunias, 84 of them and very much part of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships colour theme, the new Living Pillar™ has an irrigation system which runs on solar power using a high efficiency solar panel (at the top of the pillar) to recharge the systems battery source. Better still, it features a monitor which enables water management remotely via an App, whereby the plants are reporting when they are about to run out of water as the tank becomes empty. Scotscape monitors this and when the plants need some water and the reservoir needs topping up, it gets done! The technology ensures zero water is wasted, as any excess irrigation water is recycled.

Helen Clark Bell CEO of Love Wimbledon commented:

‘We initially set out to improve the neglected flower bed outside Evans Cycle so worked with Merton Council to get the wooden bench refurbished and the retaining wall repointed. Scotscape approached us and offered to overhaul the bed, providing new plants for the flowerbeds. We had heard of Scotscape’s innovative lamppost solution; this was the perfect place to trial a Living Pillar™ in Merton. Future planting will include air scrubbing plants helping to improve the air quality whilst also making the town greener.  Where space is limited, horizontal planting provides a very different opportunity and where tree planting is restricted, planted posts and pillars offer a  space-saving solution as well as a visual treat.’

During installation of the pillar

Angus Cunningham, CEO of Scotscape added:

‘Scotscape and Love Wimbledon have aligned thoughts on improving places and spaces through planting, By introducing sustainable planting and biodiversity in tricky locations, the Living Pillar™ will do a little bit more to help with air quality and longer term the app should enable us to measure air quality in the area as well as keep our plants watered when they ask!’

 
The Evans flowerbed before and after refurbishment

Businesses are already talking about the improvements:

‘Many thanks to Love Wimbledon BID for transformation of a neglected flowerbed, into something sustainable, and great to look at.’

– Manager, Wibbas Down Inn

 

And that’s not all, bird, bee and insect boxes will be installed in the autumn, with the planting undergrowth acting as the perfect refuge for urban wildlife and insects. The Petunias will be replaced with plant species carefully selected for their seasonal pollen and nectar production, as well as their ability to remove polluting particulate matter from air.

The LivingPillar™ can  be found in front of Evans Cycles on Gladstone Road in Wimbledon Town Centre.

Hartfield Walk Update: June 2021

 

Every week Hartfield Walk continues to develop. The plants are starting to give added structure and colour, the wildflower roof has buds that are beginning to burst. The stallholders are meeting and greeting many locals, feeling the real benefit of switching to electricity from generators, as well as the insulation with the green roofs and cooling on a hot day.

New stainless-steel plaques have been placed around the space, with QR codes to scan, allowing you to use your phone to learn more. The bee-eautiful ‘Bee in the garden’ bike racks have returned and we are looking at other places within the town to increase bike rack numbers.

As with many new and innovative projects there have been some teething problems, and through ongoing snagging these are being addressed. We’ve had a few questions about these, so to give some answers:

  • The use of repurposed wooden lock gates for seating and wooden trim has caused some unsightly leeching onto the painted surfaces. The contractors have been cleaning this weekly and it is likely to settle over the next few weeks, this is being actively managed.
  • The bespoke bike racks had an issue with chipping, this has been remedied by the suppliers and have now been reinstalled.
  • The flaking paint on parts of the floor maze was caused by unexpected rain during installation, which we were hoping would not affect the finish. This will be repainted but requires better weather to ensure the issue is resolved.
  • We have received a report from an independent arboriculturist who confirmed the design of the seating around the trees is not detrimental. However, to be absolutely sure they recommended some remedial work to increase air circulation, which has been undertaken. We will commission annual reports on these trees.

The space is designed primarily for seating and stalls, with planting softening the spaces and messaging helping us all consider what we can do to be more eco. We would encourage people to visit the space, admire the green roofs which are starting to flower, say hello to the local businesses who have an improved space to work from and take a moment to sit down and enjoy a place which before was a soulless cut through.

As with any new landscaping, patience is key, so in time the area will continue to settle and develop, and the planting will have a positive contribution to our air quality, in addition to making the area look more attractive.

Love Wimbledon has published a comprehensive FAQ webpage to learn more about the background of the project and decisions made, and there are further webpages about how the project focussed on having a positive environmental impact during design and construction.

If you have any specific questions about Hartfield Walk please email the Love Wimbledon team, who will be sure to reply within a few days.

 

Love Wimbledon Plant Over 250 New Trees

Love Wimbledon can proudly announce that it has planted the longest native woodland hedge in Wimbledon.

Ahead of National Tree Week,  Love Wimbledon has joined the Woodland Trust’s The Big Climate Fightback and pledged to help fight the climate emergency, by planting over 250 new saplings in Hartfield Road.

As well as being one of the best ways to fight a changing climate, planting trees can help to improve air quality in urban areas and protect biodiversity. Younger trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, at a rate of nearly 6kgs per tree. This means that the new hedge planted by Love Wimbledon will absorb approximately 1,500kgs of CO2 and have a significant impact upon air pollution in Wimbledon Town Centre.

This comes as part of the ‘Free Trees for Schools and Communities’ programme run by the Woodland Trust, and funded by Sainsburys, People’s Postcode Lottery, Yorkshire Tea, Joules and Selfridges.

Love Wimbledon’s double-row hedge features a variety of species including Rowan, Hazel, Cherry, Elder and Crab Apple trees. This carefully-selected combination of saplings, will offer beautiful  blossoms, bright berries and stunning autumn displays, whilst also acting as a connection for existing woodland, to help wildlife stay on  the move.

Trees are essential for people, wildlife and the environment. They absorb carbon, fight flooding, reduce pollution, nurture wildlife and make landscapes more resilient. But given the alarming rate of global warming on our planet, reducing our carbon emissions will never be enough.

 

‘It is vital that we grow a UK-wide patchwork of trees and woods – not just by planting, but also through natural regeneration. The woods, hedges and green spaces we create buffer existing habitats, tackle climate change and reverse wildlife decline – all at the same time’.

– The Woodland Trust

 

So, join us in reducing our impact on the environment by helping to look after this hedge. If you are passing by, give the trees a little drink and help them flourish!