A harvest of hope at Pollinator Patch

Local school pupil Mollie with her harvested flower seeds

Local school pupil Mollie with her harvested flower seeds - Credit: Groundwork South

The children are fascinated by the poppies, shaking the tiny seeds from the papery flower heads, and collecting them in their small hands.

Not all the seeds make it into the collecting bag held by the nursery staff, but those that fall to the ground will either spawn next year’s blooms or be fodder for a hungry bird or two.

Peekaboo Nursery are not the only ones visiting Shiphay Park.

Other members of the community have come with bags and pots for collecting flower seed from the glorious display of flowers that has marked this Pollinator Patch – one of 20 created in green spaces across Torbay.

There are still a few blooms on the cosmos, cornflowers and calendula but plenty of the flower heads have had the chance to dry and set seed.

Pupils from Shiphay Academy have brought recycled newspaper envelopes they have made specially for the task.

They come along on the way home from school, bringing parents and grandparents, all keen to harvest some seeds. 

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After a short briefing to help recognise the ‘ripe’ seed heads, children and adults alike get down to the business of collecting.

The seeds will be taken home and spread out on paper, the chaff separated from seed and left to dry before being stored in envelopes and airtight containers until ready to be sown in late spring. 

There are two patches at the entrance to the park on Dart Avenue.

The flower stems in one will be left, eventually collapsing as the plant dies.

The tangle of stems should provide winter cover for invertebrates and small mammals, as well as feeding ground for the many birds that can be seen darting in and out of hedges around the perimeter of the park.  

The second patch will be tidied, and flowering bulbs such as crocus planted, giving a little early-spring colour and, more importantly, providing an early source of nectar for our native pollinators.  

To find out about helping care for Torbay’s Green Spaces and for further information on the Pollinator Patch Scheme, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk