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Parkridge Centre: New Design for Invertebrates and the Public

August 2016

The grass, Deschampsia cespitosa 'Bronze Veil' has come into its own and is creating a shimmering foil for the rest of the planting. Unfortunately all the Helenium and the majority of the Bergamot/Monarda planted seem to have been razed by slugs and snails in the spring. We will keep our fingers crossed that they make it further out of the ground next year! Pink Asters and Echinops are poised to continue the nectar supply into late summer.


Passing bees are loving the Angelica gigas and Veronicastrum 'Fascination'


May 2016

Happily, our bulbs are doing well in their first year. We have enjoyed the native daffodil, Narcissus lobularia, already, the cammassias are going over but are still looking amazing with the Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'. Gladiolus byzantina is having it's moment now, before the Allium sphaerocephalon will be looking good and supplying nectar next month.


"I was hugely impressed with the designs Lucy created for two areas within the nature reserve at the Parkridge Centre which had become neglected. She fulfilled the Brief and created two fantastic looking wildlife areas; one of which makes exploring our wildlife garden fun and exciting for the families and children that visit us daily. She was organised, prompt in responding and extremely helpful in planning the Schedule of Work required."

Amanda Evans, Volunteer manager, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

March 2016

Valeriana phu 'Aurea' emerges a glowing lime green. The leaves darken over summer but before then we - and the pollinators - will enjoy its white umbellifer flowers.

Sept/Oct 2015

The planting is purposefully quite dense. Although we see soil now, it will be covered in one growing season. The plants are picked for a long pollination season and for colour from the Easter holidays through to October half term. There is one grass, Deschampsia cespitosa 'Bronze Veil' threaded throughout.This is a modern cultivar of the British native Tufted hair grass, which has been used in thatching and is a caterpillar food for the ringlet and grayling (info from  There is a risk of course that it may take over. All the plants chosen are known for their vigour and it is hoped that the resulting competition will be both colourfull and fairly self-sustaining! 



Sept 2015

Over the summer a new bird feeder support was build by corporate volunteers and an attractive service path laid out. The path uses a mix of new and old concrete blocks and rubble dug out of the site when ground preparation was underway. The powdered appearance is from the bonemeal scattered around before planting was to be carried out - the afternoon this picture was taken.


June 2015

With some help putting the base in, Lucy built a whimsical habitat wall. The materials were collected from skips, salvage yards, other project leftovers (including the Geological Wall at Brandon Marsh) as well as taken from the piles of hardcore found when digging over the site being worked on. The crevices and holes are to be used by invertebrates for summer shade and winter protection. 

April 2015

The unwanted perennials all had deep
, strong roots, the soil was heavy and compacted. Many groups of volunteers worked extremely hard to meticulously remove roots and dig over the soil. It was slow going and the success of this area will be down to their painstaking work. The soil was then raked even, covered in brown cardboard (well most of it - we ran out of cardboard!) and covered again in a thick layer of new topsoil. This was left, with some superficial weeding, over the summer to be ready for planting in September.

Nov 2014

The area around the Cafe at the Parkridge Centre, Breuton Park in Solihull is great for invertebrates already. Bramble, nettle, dock and willowherb dominates. The view is not so great and diversity could be increased. These great larval and food plants for pollinators can be found in plentiful supply nearby, elsewhere on the Reserve. Lucy was asked to plan with wildlife in mind but also to create a more beautiful and colourful scene which would appeal to the greater public.