A New Green Roof Shed at Devonshire Road has just been installed. The images were sent to me from Lewisham Council. Devonshire is one of the most used and celebrated urban nature reserve in the Borough and it is good to see another green roof sprout up on the reserve. I have only managed to visit the nature reserve once in my 25 years living in Lewisham, even though I was the Chairman of the Lewisham Biodiversity Partnership for nearly ten, which is a damn poor showing! Continue reading »
Queen Teasel’s Crown Jewel – holds firm to thistle head – and like a brooch sparkles in the sun.
The Poppy Estate – Guided Tours
The Poppy Estate, more commonly referred to as the Clapton Park Estate is London’s Biodiversity Estate. Managed by my good friends John and Rob Little of the Grassroof Company, it is the way all London housing estates should be run – for people and wildlife
Although John and Rob are well known for green roofs, they are building a real reputation on how to design and manage housing and school grounds for both people and wildlife. I have worked with John for about 7 years running green roofs training courses, we have written a guide together and a book (with Ed Snodgrass and Nigel Dunnet). One of my great pleasures is to visit is own wildlife garden in Essex, which is a one of the secret wonders of Essex. This knowledge, sensibility and approach to wildlife landscapes is carried over in his work at the Poppy Estate.
Nature given space amongst the housing
Wildflowers are allowed to hug the railings of the estates. Plants thrive on small green roofs. Orchard trees are appearing amongst the once amenity grasslands and both people and nature can come together in the heart of Hackney.
Growing your own amongst the Housing
I always enjoy the stories of the local residents from London’s diversive communities growing their own on the estate. Especially of the lady who literally followed John around planting coriander wherever he turned the soil. The open day gets you close to the idea of growing with workshops, which will be run by residents.
Getting Green amongst the Housing
So if you are free on 8th June get up to Mandeville Street and sample the delights of urban greenery and community life North London style with a pinch of Essex.
For a sample of what is on offer check out the video.
Black Redstarts on the largest green roof at the London Olympic Site are breeding. Stuart Connop who helps run the green roof research programme at the University of East London was on the roof last week and saw the pair foraging across the roof. I designed the green roof on the Media Centre through my consultancy GRC. The roof was designed to help meet both the green roof targets within the Olympics Sustainability Plan and to meet the Olympic Biodiversity Action Gary Grant, my colleague at GRC, helped write the plan. So green roofs do work work for biodiversity and they do work for black redstarts.
A new Green Roof Breeding Bird Species was discovered last week, whilst we doing a green roof tour in Essex. With the delegates from our workshop series enjoying the lovely ‘Land Rover’ wildflower green roof, John Little uncovered a clutch of hatched eggs.Nestling beneath a thick growth of dried vegetation, the light brown eggs could only be those a Red-legged Partridge. Though I have seen this species on a roof before no one has ever encountered a nest. I suspect they nest on big green roofs like the one at Rolls Royce in West Sussex but here we have the evidence that DO! Continue reading »
I have nothing against wasps – they cause me a degree of irritation that is irrelevant compared to the harm humans cause to the natural world and biodiversity.However there was something a ‘best served up cold’ feeling I had when I saw a wasp’ demise – dangling from the web of ‘my’ Garden spider (Araneus diadematus) in a silken lunch bag. Spiteful, perhaps, but then I am only human. Continue reading »