My Wild Office

BBC Bristol's Wildlife GardenMy Wild City Officer, Matt

A partnership between the BBC Bristol and Avon Wildlife Trust has seen the grass lawns of the BBC offices on Whiteladies Road converted into a wildlife garden.

 

 

Starting in January 2015, the design team from Gardeners World and the My Wild City team came together to design a brand new wildlife garden from the BBC offices rather barren front lawns. The garden was to be a very visual demonstration of the opportunities available within our most urban areas of Bristol. Located adjacent to a main road, the garden is visible to many people and will hopefully inspire others to take action for wildlife within the city. The design aimed to include all the essential features of any good wildlife space; nectar-rich plants, a pond, hedgerows, small trees and a mini-meadow of long grass and wildflowers.
 


With plans agreed and a series of workdays booked in the diary, the serious work of building the garden could begin. Over the course of several months, teams of volunteers, celebrities and local school children were drafted in to help create different parts of the garden. Miranda Krestovnikoff helped us build the planting beds, Nick Baker the bug hotels, and the entire Blue Peter team came down to complete the show piece pond at the centre of the garden. The project received much coverage from the media including radio interviews, segments on BBC Points West, and even featured in an episode of Blue Peter to inspire families to create ponds in their back gardens.
On completion in June, the once lifeless lawns now incorporated a pond, four small hedgerows, over 200 nectar-rich plants and shrubs, eight fruit trees, four bug hotels and two areas of mini-meadows.


School teams and community groups from across the city created the garden itself. You can watch what they were up to on the Avon Wildlife Trust's YouTube Channel.


Not only is it a wonderful space in its own right, the garden perfectly demonstrates how a road-side lawn can be converted into a wildlife hotspot in the heart of the city.


Steven Williams

A year on and we returned to the garden to see how everything was getting on and to join BBC One Show wildlife-expert, Mike Dilger, and six of the local primary schools who had helped build the garden for a bioblitz event. We were overjoyed to see how much life had moved into the garden and over the course of a single hour some brilliant species were found including azure damselflies, four species of bumblebee, wolf spiders, double banded snails, nesting blackbird and our favourite, a scarlet tiger moth. Not only were many animals found but the plant diversity had improved greatly in the mini-meadows due to reducing the mowing regime to a single cut in late summer. Not only did it look fantastic but it was the place where many of the insects were found and to everyone’s complete surprise, two species of orchid had grown – common spotted and pyramidal orchids.


Summer 2016

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