COMMUNITY WILDFLOWER  NURSERY

 

Welcome to our Community Wildflower Nursery on Hammersley Lane in Tylers Green, High Wycombe.  We became the proud keyholders in Autumn 2022 and our vision for this once blank canvas is now really taking shape.

Projects like these only happen thanks to our multiple funders investing in our vision and people volunteering their time, energy and effort to bring it to life.

Our wildflower nursery is for the local community.  It is a place for people of all ages, abilities and from all parts of our community to help us grow local, native wildflowers and when they are ready, plant them out via our various projects and sites e.g. NHS hospital gardens, schools, sheltered accommodation and other public realm areas. Time spent in nature and with others is so good for our mental health, reduces social isolation and brings everyone together to achieve more.

The last 6 months have been really busy! In total we’ve hosted 14 practical sessions, with a total of 146 volunteers delivering 697 hours of help.  It all started with an opening ceremony, welcoming volunteers and local dignitaries to the site.

During the following sessions, volunteers helped to construct a polytunnel from scratch which has been a big learning curve for all involved!  The polytunnel has features such as side ventilation screen to keep it cooler in summer, wheelchair accessible double swing doors and plant benching at an ergonomic height. It provides a sheltered warm place for volunteers to carry out propagation tasks, as well as space to grow tender plants and extend the growing season for vegetables. 

Volunteers have also constructed 2 raised beds with built-in pergola for shade during the summer months and to support climbing plants. These beds were planted up with fruit bushes and herbs for community use, with the addition of colourful signs painted by young people from Mama Bee.

We have also installed 2 water butts, essential for all the watering needed and we have helped improve accessibility to the site by maintaining paths and making a set of double gates at the site entrance.

So far volunteers have grown and cared for a stock of 500 native wildflowers, many of which are from seeds of local provenance, 250 of which have been planted out on Chairborough Local Nature Reserve, Alfriston School and Abingdon Hospital grounds.

Wildflowers are so important, they are the base of the food chain, feeding pollinators such as bees, beetles, butterflies & moths including their fussy, yet hungry, caterpillars.

Some species have only one or two caterpillar foodplants: Small Blue (Kidney Vetch), Chalkhill Blue (Horseshoe vetch) and Common Blue (Bird’s-foot trefoil) Duke of Burgundy (Cowslips & Primroses).

We grow & distribute the plants and hope in turn the various beneficiaries can thrive in a better quality, more connected landscape.

Thanks to Nicholas King Homes, The Clare Foundation & Buckinghamshire Council’s High Wycombe Community Board for kicking it all off in 2022-23.

The Chiltern Conservation Board’s Farming In the Protected Landscape is adding to the infrastructure in 2023-24 to make it a better place for volunteers and also to upgrade our rainwater harvesting too!

Coming soon will be new planters made by students at Stony Dean School, Amersham as part of their stepping stones programme. These planters, made from recycled wood, will be used to grow terrestrial wildflowers but also in partnership with Freshwater Habitats Trust’s GroWet project we will grow wetland plants like Ragged Robin & Lesser Spearwort too!

Thanks to a grant from Awards for All from The National Lottery Community Fund, we have staff time to train, guide, inspire and engage our community. Local people will be the key for building momentum and long term success into the project.

In 2024, locally-based British bedmakers, Hypnos, are stepping up their partnership with us and investing in this space too.  Hypnos have a close working partnership with the Eden Project which has created an opportunity for us to work closely with them to learn more about wildflowers and helping to deliver even more environmental impact!

We look forward to welcoming lots more volunteers to the site – if you or your community group would like to get involved in the buildling and growing, contact  clemency@chilternrangers.co.uk or info@chilternrangers.co.uk.