Playing the waiting game on community Pollinator Patches

Torbay Weekly

The mornings are starting to feel a little cooler now, the evening light seeping away slightly earlier, and a bit of autumnal colour is beginning to creep into the trees - sure signs that the seasons are changing and autumn is on its way.

For anyone involved in tending a garden or caring for a green space, these small changes herald big changes in how the plot looks.

As we come to the last few weeks of flowering for the Pollinator Patches, so the colourful flowers make way for a spectacular array of seed heads, from the elongated pods of the Californian poppies to the curled fingers of the calendula and the feathery tufts of the cornflowers.

It’s a patient waiting game now; the gap between the flowers going over and the seeds maturing.

The patches can look a little unkempt, with some of the stems toppling under the weight of the seeds they are carrying, the important task of holding the flower heads high for airborne pollinating insects to find now complete.

Some groups will let their patches drop their seed, hoping that they will germinate in the spring – no doubt providing a few hungry birds with some autumnal foraging along the way!

Others plan to cut and collect; diligently gathering pods and flower heads alike in paper bags, separating the seeds and storing them ready to be sown next spring.

The beauty of the Pollinator Patch scheme, run by SWISCo, is that each patch has a different story to tell and has brought together different elements of the community.

A wonderful example of this can be found at Lupton House, where an intergenerational team prepared, sowed, and nurtured their patch into flowering glory, with the children attending Orchard Forest School working with the site’s over-55s volunteering group, learning from each other along the way and sharing the many joys the experience has given them - including creating mini scarecrows to protect the seeds from hungry birds.

To find out more about getting involved in caring for Torbay’s Green Spaces please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940 510 616 or email