On our allotment site at Bowbrook Allotment Community we try to keep all green waste on site, either by composting or re-using it in new situations. In earlier blogs I showed how we have made an array of insect shelters but the idea of creating wildlife banks to re-use turf is on a much larger scale.
When new beds are created in our Green Spaces around the lotties we have piles of turf left over. Some of this we stacked to make loam piles but we came up with the idea of making raised areas full of wildlife habitats and shelters. The photo above shows Jude, Geoff and Pete part way through the construction. Turves have already been layered alterating grass side up and grass side down, in our chosen shark’s fin shape, a design decided upon to reflect the shape of some of our mini-meadows. The first habitat is in place, the dry-stone wall.
The final layer of turf was laid grass side upwards and we planted insect-attracting plants in it, such as oxe-eye daisies and geranium phaeum. In the following autumn we planted small tulips and muscari and in spring we augmented this with bulbs “in the green”, snowdrops, wild daffodils, crocus and scillas. Some of these flowering bulbs provide a life line for early flying bees.
The buttercups soon burst out of the turf and added their yellow cheerfulness. The photo above shows another wildlife habitat – logs with holes of various sizes drilled in them – which we hope will attract solitary bees and provide shelter over winter for their eggs and larvae.
We have now constructed two such wildlife banks within our Green Spaces and keep adding odd plants as they are donated by members. Yesterday we planted some geraniums for example. The photo below shows one of the bumble bee nesting sites we have added. During the summer one of these was nested in by Field Mice and as bumble bees love nesting in old mouse holes we see this as a positive thing, giving us hope of bee residents moving in next year.
The final photo shows our second wildlife bank just after completion.