Pollinating Peartree - bringing flowers and pollinators to Southampton

© Pollinating Peartree

A community project to map and sow wildflower areas in the Peartree ward of Southampton, creating corridors for pollinators such as butterflies and bees, and improving the environment for people.

Jill Doubleday is a Wilder Community Leader and Inspiring People Champion for the Trust. She writes her own blog to document her nature journey and inspire yours. dandelionnature.org

I'm fortunate to live a three-minute walk away from Peartree Green local nature reserve, with its wildflowers, bees and butterflies. I know though that there has been a huge decline in pollinating insects in recent years, so I was happy to notice that there were wildflowers elsewhere in my local area. Some are green spaces, such as Freemantle Common, and others are not, like the alleys behind my house.  

Painting of peartree on grassy verge with butterflies flitting about

© Pollinating Peartree

I’d been reading about Plantlife’s road verges campaign and seeing posts on the Team Wilder Facebook page about things community groups were doing. Campaigns and projects such as Buglife’s B-lines and X-Polli:nation’s Polli Promise also inspired me. The idea of Pollinating Peartree started to take shape through discussions with friends in the area. Pollinating Peartree is a community project to map the existing wildflower areas in the Peartree ward and to create new ones. Some of the existing areas are well-established such as on Peartree Green LNR, while others have been sown more recently, as is the case on Veracity Recreation Ground. They can be public spaces or private ones – gardens, car park edges, planters in front of businesses in the shopping area. As well as telling us what is already there, we'd like people to let us know about any areas that we could transform into pollinator re-fuelling stops by growing wildflowers.

 

In October 2020, six of us sowed seeds in three areas near the Itchen Bridge. There were already a few wildflowers there, such as red dead nettle and groundsel, but we hope that, come spring, a wider variety will grow, not only helping pollinators but improving the look of the area – as you can see from the photo, it is dominated by concrete. 

Woman in yellow t-shirt and black trousers sprinkling seeds on soil

© Jill Doubleday

In January 2021, we launched our Facebook page Pollinating Peartree, using the eye-catching artwork (above) created for us by Jessica of Florala. Our map, created by Mark, already shows nine existing sites, including two private gardens, along with two that we hope to sow in spring. One of our group, Eamonn, has secured funding from Southampton City Council’s Community Chest. Our plan is also to mark the sites with small signs featuring Florala‘s design. We hope that people will join us in sowing seeds when times allow, and that everyone will take pleasure from seeing the flowers – and will also have a greater appreciation of the importance of pollinators.

 

 

Map of Peartree ward in Southampton with pins showing areas that have been identified as key areas for pollination.

© Pollinating Peartree

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