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.