Pollinator patch scheme for Torbay

Common gorse is also known as Western gorse and has several colloquial names, one of the more common being ‘furze’

Common gorse is also known as Western gorse and has several colloquial names, one of the more common being ‘furze’. - Credit: Groundwork South

Spotting a fat, fluffy bumble bee buzzing from one yellow flower to the next - the sweet scent of the blooms drifting on the breeze - truly makes it feel like spring is not far away. 

Yet the flowers in question are not the nodding heads of daffodils, but of prickly common gorse.

Gorse grows in the thin, poor soil of heath, moor or roadside bank and can become leggy and ‘stretched’ if planted on fertile soil.

In fact, it’s not the only plant that doesn’t care for the ‘rich’ soils of managed green space; and this is a problem. 

As more of us look to how they we provide beneficial habitats for our threatened pollinators, one of the most popular ideas is to create a wildflower meadow. 

After all, you just sprinkle a few seeds and let nature take its course, how hard could it be? 

Three Green Space groups in Torbay know that establishing a wildflower meadow is definitely not that simple. 

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The Friends of St Mary's Park in Brixham are locked in an ongoing battle with plantain and grass, which threaten to overwhelm the wildflower seedlings.

At Clennon Lakes, the volunteers have spent many, many hours clearing scrub and grass to prepare the ground for a wildflower area.

The group at Stoodley Knowle have spent a number of years carefully managing the former football field to reduce the soil fertility and removing plants that compete for light and space. 

The urban pollinator seed mix provided will be the same as that sown in the Italian Gardens last year. 

The urban pollinator seed mix provided will be the same as that sown in the Italian Gardens last year. - Credit: Groundwork South 

However, even if creating the wildflower meadow of your dreams is not possible, we can still help provide nectar-rich plants for our pollinators by sowing other annual flowering plants suitable for the soil type, as well as for the plot size and location. 

Which is why SWISCo and Groundwork South are providing five ‘urban pollinator mix’ seed kits for each ward in Torbay, each with ‘how to’ guides and links to ideas and resources aimed at helping our native pollinators. 

To find out more about the Pollinator Patch Scheme or to register a community green space please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk