This week has been National Gardening Week, and to celebrate we’ve highlighted all the greening initiatives we’re part of and that you can get involved with below.
Bankside Sunflower Challenge
To celebrate the return to Bankside and rebuild connections across our neighbourhood, we’re running a sunflower challenge in collaboration with Bankside Open Spaces Trust. We’re running a series of events throughout the summer to help you along the way with your sunflower growing. Keep an eye on our events page for the latest.
Georgia’s top sunflower growing tips:
- You don’t need a garden. Sunflowers will grow in pots but need space, as well as – yes, you guessed it – plenty of sun.
- Try growing different varieties. Different bees like certain types of sunflower, so it’s a good idea to try out a few different ones. Take a look at Alys Fowler’s favourite sunflowers. Red sunflowers aren’t thought to be as attractive to bees.
- Keep a sunflower diary with your children. You could include notes, drawings, paintings and photos. How much has your sunflower grown this week? Which bees like your sunflower the best? This makes a fun activity at home or at school.
- Two varieties recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society’s Perfect for Pollinators plant list are Helianthus annuus (Common sunflower) and Helianthus debilis (Cucumber leaf sunflower).
- Consider flowering times, as bees need food all year round. Early sunflowers, generally dwarf varieties, come out in late June. Others like the perennial sunflower bloom in September and October.
- Leave flowers to turn to seeds in autumn and winter and let the birds feast on them.
- Cut off the stems and dry them to create a bee hotel once flowering is over. Leaving the roots in will return nutrients to the soil.
If you’re not a fan of sunflowers, May is the perfect time to sow other flower seeds indoors and outdoors. Try Borage, Marigolds, Cornflowers, Calendula, Cosmos and Wildflower mixes. Growing plants can be tricky so don’t give up if things go wrong. Get plenty more information online at RHS.
Better Bankside’s Urban Gardener and Plant Club
If you didn’t already know, we have a full time Urban Gardener called Georgia who you can usually find out and about maintaining a network of green sites around the streets and public spaces in Bankside. She also runs a monthly Plant Club social where Banksiders can learn more about sowing and growing, and exchange tips and tricks with one another.
Exploring Bankside’s green spaces
If you are returning to Bankside after working from home during lockdown here is a handy guide to the network of green spaces and pocket parks across the neighbourhood. Make sure to get your daily nature fix by exploring and enjoying these pockets of green and calm.
For any urban gardening or plant club related questions get in touch with Urban Gardener, Georgia Smith and for any Bankside Urban Forest related enquiries get in touch with Bankside Urban Forest Manager, Valerie Beirne