With no building work planned for the town centre site at least until the autumn, a key plot opposite the Town Hall has turned to Plan Bees.
From saffron farm to bee haven, the Taberner House site is undergoing transformation again, and needs more volunteer help.
A bee hive has been installed and bee-friendly flowers have been sown in the beds which last autumn yielded a city centre crop of saffron – the spice which is worth its weight in gold, and then some.
“Crocuses are off the agenda at this time of the year but there have been a number of excellent suggestions of what we could do by people who helped with Croydon Saffron Central,” said Ally McKinlay, the council worker founded Croydon Saffron Central.
“We were most taken by the idea of planting bee-friendly flowers and then Croydon Beekeepers Association agreed to bring a Beehive into the site. There are a number of community groups helping where they can in among their own fantastic work.
“More than 40 volunteers have prepared the site and planted sunflower, borage, phacelia, cornflower, poppy and nasturtium seeds. There is room to plant much more which will all help to provide a safe haven for the bees which are so important in the cycle of life. The hive was moved in last Sunday morning with hundreds of bees ready for action.”
There are a wide range of opportunities for volunteers to help ensure the site is safe for visitors. The organisers hope that all materials used will be donated or reused.
Volunteer opportunities at Saffron Central include:
– General gardening, digging, tidying, repotting etc.
– Engineers to help make an efficient water collection and irrigation system.
– Builders & creatives who can make good hazardous areas.
– There are opportunities for artists to create installations in the site using materials from the sites original demolition such as glass, granite, marble, metal, brick, wood, wire etc.
– Paintings of bees and flowers on plywood boards which can be hung inside the space.
– 1,000 litre Water Butts x5
– Timber for a large lean-to
– Corrugated roofing, guttering, downpipes, fixtures and fittings,
– Corex sheeting x15
– Big Plant pots
– A substantial supply of wood chip would help some of the uneven pathways to have a uniformed and consistent finish under foot.
The project is looking for donations of materials and equipment which would ideally be reused and not new. The donation of bee-friendly plants, particularly lavender and marjoram would be most welcome.
Anyone entering the site at this time must book in a time and go through a site induction. There is a limit to how many people can be on site at one time.
To ensure the nectar flows and the potted plants are well-watered, the bee haven will need to collect as much rainwater as possible and distribute it around the site.
“This could be a great little science project and I have an exciting idea for pumping the water around the site which I’d hope can be applied in gardens, community spaces and schools,” said McKinlay.
Croydon Saffron Central has been entered for the Royal Horticultural Society’s “It’s your neighbourhood” competition. “Judging takes place between June 20 and July 15, so we have two months to get the site looking sensational. I know that the people of Croydon can make this site look amazing and hope they can spare some time to make it all work.”
There will also be a number of events over the summer, beginning on May 22, when Urban Edible Gardens will offer a “No Dig Bed Workshop”, using only coffee grounds, compost, recycled mulch and food waste fertiliser. People are welcome to attend and get tips, and the space will be used to plant onions, garlic, chives, spring onions, kale and herbs such as coriander and salad leafs like rocket. “People will need to bring plants to the space,” McKinlay said.
For further detail about Croydon Bee Haven or to find out about volunteering please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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