Our London in Bloom entry showcases two new green spaces in the BID area
London in Bloom Press Release
22 July 2021
Community effort sees ‘1000 Seeds’ School Planting Project and wildflower ‘oasis’ at Marsh Way Roundabouts in Rainham as the centrepieces of London Riverside BID’s London in Bloom submission
Last week saw a flurry of activity as the London Riverside Business Improvement District (BID) made last-minute preparations to receive the Judge from the London in Bloom awards. Rainham is not stranger to these awards, achieving a clutch of Golds and Silver Gilts.
It was a particularly important submission, in a year when our gardens and parks became so important to us all and we better understood the value of our green natural spaces not just for us, but also for our wildlife friends.
Looking down from the busy A13, The London Riverside BID may not be immediately associated with beautiful green spaces and wildlife oases, but it is bound on two sides by the RSPB Rainham Marshes and the River Thames. This unusual setting is home to a rich and diverse habitat of plants, insects and birds, including endangered and protected insects such as the Adonis Ladybird and Brown Carder Bee, and birds such as the linnet, dunnock and starling.
The BID Team, as stewards of this verdant corner, has been working hard by developing two new wildlife spaces; firstly, an outdoor seating and relaxation area at the Rainham Riverside and secondly the greening of the Marsh Way Roundabouts.
The Museum of Garden Escapes
Nestled peacefully by the sea wall, untouched by the growing industrial landscape around it, a small pocket of land named ‘The Museumof Garden Escapes’ is the focus for a seating out area and experimental seed planting project.
Jointly with volunteers from the Rainham Allotments, the BID commandeered 1000 green-fingered helpers from the local community, including children from Rainham Primary School, Harris Academy, two Rainham Scouts Groups and the Rainham Parish Church. Between them they lovingly grew over 500 young plants, which have been planted out in the emerging garden. The ‘Museum’ mirrors the footprint of the historic Ferry Inn, later the Three Crowns Inn, which existed on or near that spot for centuries, before industry took over the area.
The name ‘Museum of Garden Escapes’ reflects the non-native plants which can be found already in the area and which have likely been carried in the wind or by insects from local gardens. The raised beds double as outdoor seating for the 100’s of local workers and a rest point for walkers following the RSPB walking route to Purfleet.
“It’s a community endeavour that we hope to improve on every year” says BID Board Director Eric Mollison. “The aim is to create usable outdoor space for the local workforce and visitors. The Museum of Garden Escapes will help keep alive the history of the area, create a place for children and adults to discover the rich and diverse habitats that exist in this small footprint and involve the community in its future as a space protected for public use.”
Developments can be followed on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MuseumOfGardenEscapes/
Greening of Marsh Way Roundabouts
The second showpiece that caught the Judge’s attention was a new planting scheme at the two Marsh Way roundabouts by CEME and Fairview Industrial Park.
The BID, partnering with Havering Council, commissioned landscape architects Untitled Practice to create a scheme sympathetic to the natural environment and designed to provide a haven for insects and wildlife, especially bees.
This year's late summer, which was followed by a long dry spell looked like it might overwhelm the young plants, but the most recent rain helped them burst into life just in time for judging, with a showy display of yellow's, purple's, oranges and whites. In this otherwise industrial location, the moths and bees now have a small island paradise of heavenly scents and pollen in the most unexpected of places.
CEME’s Chief Executive Bill Williams explained to the judge the impact this planting scheme has made to the residents of the business and events centre, “CEME is a prestigious business campus. The gateway roundabouts lift the spirits as you approach and are now a fitting arrival point for our resident businesses, their staff and all our visitors.”
In the autumn the seeds will scatter, carried in the wind and by insects, and so we will hopefully see this mini landscape of sages, sedums, thistles and moor grasses gently replicated outside front doors, and along surrounding verges and A-roads.
Once established, the perennials should flourish every year, with the summer paint pallet fading into autumnal stems and grasses, providing architectural interest and needing a cut-back just once in the winter to prepare them for their spring rejuvenation.
Good for the environment, good for the insects and good for the soul!
If you would like to know more please contact: Olga Astaniotis at the London Riverside BID, Tel: 01708 550279