Pollinator Highway

Pollinators around the world are in severe decline, and they desperately need our help. Different species such as bees and hover flies collect nectar and pollen from a variety of flowers, and they require a constant supply of these throughout the year. By creating a ‘corridor’ of plants from which they can forage, we can ensure that they never go hungry, no matter what the season. Our gardens provide the perfect opportunity to do this. By swapping pollinator-friendly plants amongst ourselves, we can build the ultimate pollinator highway, street by street.

Bumble bees are some of the most efficient pollinators on the planet

Before our project launch, some residents from Lancaster/Gurney Court Roads, along with Amanda Yorwerth from St Albans Friends of the Earth, scoped our gardens for especially pollinator-friendly plants. Amanda then compiled a list of the most suitable plants we could swap between us, also taking into account the level of drought resistance and ease of propagation. A lot of these plants are well-known natives, but she has also included some non-natives – a necessity in these times of climate change.

Together with members of the Culver Rd and Warwick Rd Bernard’s Heath Groups, the Lancaster/Gurney Court Roads Group launched the Pollinator Highway Project with a talk led by Amanda Yorwerth.

Amanda’s talk was met with much enthusiasm, as she explained how we can help boost steeply declining numbers of pollinators by planting for pollinators, not using pesticides or fertilisers and mowing less. She gave much needed advice on how to propagate our chosen plants, stressing that the easiest way was to wait for seedlings to appear and then to transplant them into a container, ready for swapping.

We now intend to begin swapping our plants via social media, as well as holding an additional plant swap event later in the season when conditions are optimal for planting.

To find out just how pollinator-friendly our gardens are already, residents have been filling out this simple survey:

Our pollinator survey

We will repeat the survey in July 2020 and compare the results. Hopefully we will be able to show that our pollinator highway has made a big difference!

Please submit sightings of butterflies to the Big Butterfly Count. This survey runs from now until August 11 and will provide much-needed information to Butterfly Conservation (vice-president Chris Packham) about numbers of butterflies in the UK.