With millions of hectares of flower-rich grassland having been lost in the UK since 1945, River of Flowers is on a mission to establish ‘rivers’ of pollinator-friendly native wildflowers within urban landscapes across the UK. It was great to hear from Kathryn from this non-profit social enterprise about a new project the organisation is funding through a donation from The Co-operative Bank’s Customer Donation Fund. Here’s what she told us…
Kathryn, from River of Flowers said: "There have been loads of studies that show a direct link between gardening and health and wellbeing. We'd already seen the positive effects that a mini-meadow project can have for children and families in primary schools and were looking forward to bringing this special "therapy" to hospital patients too. It's a great stress-reliever that can give chronically ill people a sense of control and meaning in their lives at a very difficult time.
The funding we've received through The Co-operative Bank's Customer Donation Fund has helped us to start our "Grow Your Own Health" project. We've worked with patients and staff at York Hospital in their Renal Dialysis Garden and at the Royal Free Hospital, London on the balcony outside the Oncology Unit. The special Honeycomb Meadow planters we use are different heights so that the mini-meadow is accessible to everyone, even those in a wheelchair, and we'll run workshops to teach patients how to look after and develop their site.
Since the meadows have been planted we're already seeing them change through the seasons, offering a rich source of food for nectar-loving insects. While the meadow itself will only last for the summer, it will be replanted in the spring to produce another magnificent display and provide an inner-city haven for biodiversity.
Through projects like this we're helping to slow down or maybe even reverse the trend of decline in bee numbers and other pollinators in recent years. In fact, when we were planting up the site at York Hospital we were visited by a red tailed bumblebee (Bombus Iapidarius) who was keen to check out this new habitat!"