Biodiversity on the Rooftops of King's Cross: an update!

Over the last few weeks, we'd all been keenly awaiting the chance to welcome the spring sunshine with open arms, as well as the opportunity to check in on how our new biodiverse habitats have been doing on the rooftops of King's Cross buildings. Back in February, we wrote about Cosmology, Ecology & Action: how our young people continue exploring the story of interconnectedness through practical work in King’s Cross, as commissioned by Argent. And here is what has been happening since...

Earlier on in April, we successfully installed the newly designed habitat on the roof of One Pancras Square, as co-designed with Jessica and Ranya. On one of warmest days of the year, we set about installing logs that were donated to us by the Hampstead Heath conservation team, in a deliberately abstract design that still took inspiration from natural structures.

We then planted 20 to 25 thyme plugs around each 'cheese'. A prime position on the rooftop of this 10-storey plus building in the heart of King's Cross brings with it not only incredible views over central London, but also complete exposure to the elements for any plants that find themselves on the rooftop. This is why Paul advised the use of alpine plants such as common thyme and lemon thyme. A couple of hours of working through the thick, tangled mat of seedum and the protective layers and the installation was complete.

A week later, we paid a visit to the Western Transit Shed to see how Ranya and Adam's structures were looking. With the sun on our faces again, we were delighted to find that the heather had settled in well and the blooming flowers on the print shape were looking just as we'd hoped (someone even mentioned the words 'nail varnish' in relation to what lay ahead of us!)

The Generators we worked with watered the plants, before going on to their next task. Having previously gained some gardening tips from our Gardens Manager Paul, who taught them how to plant strawberries and different varieties of thyme, this new group of Generators set about putting their newly learned skills to great use in planting up lots of wildflowers into and around the honeycomb structure on the rooftop of the Western Transit Shed building. The different species that now have a home on the sunny spot of the roof belong to the sea cliff biome, and therefore should settle in well there over the next few weeks with the partial shade they receive.

Christopher, Hannah, Maegan, Nicole and Victoria are all looking forward to coming back to see how their plants are doing, as well as to finding out about the overall impact of the different habitats on biodiversity of the rooftops. Here's hoping for another stag beetle sighting!