As you have probably heard before, our capital is one of the greenest city's in Europe: London has 14,164 hectares of green spaces including parks, wildlife habitats and natural reserves. It’s the equivalent 11 000 football pitches in case you were wondering. And often these green spaces manifest in unusual ways- planes lining the streets, community gardens like the Skip Garden, and London’s beautiful array of street planters.
You might think street planters are just there to be pretty- and indeed they are pretty- but they also provide a great service to London’s wildlife: they create a green corridor, a link between bigger green spaces allowing for example butterflies to travel further afield to find a mate, food or shelter.
A couple of weeks ago, thanks to the generous support of British Land and the Regents Place business occupants we were able to contribute to London’s green credentials with Fitzrovia Youth in Action (FYA). They are a brilliant youth organization in Camden. Their main office is on a street just behind Warren Street Station- very close to the hustle and bustle of Marylebone road but surprisingly quiet.
The local residents live in period houses with all the railings adorned by metal planters, so FYA had decided to refresh the planters with the help of all the residents, which was also an opportunity to get the whole street together and celebrate. We came in to help with the planters' design, and to help the residents with the gardening.
There were 33 planters to empty, refill with good soil, and replant with a mix of Phormium (tough and structural), cranesbill geranium (great for pollinator), and colourful bedding plant like petunias and tumbling dichondras (to brighten up the whole street).
The day of planting was a gloriously sunny day, and FYA organised a wonderful street BBQ to thank people for their help. The whole street came together- young, old, parents, children, neighbours, friends and even passers by. Everyone got stuck in and planted up the whole street in less than 2 hours. We showed a few people how to transplant, and they showed their neighbours, who showed their friends, who showed their children.
The queue to the BBQ was full of laughs and chatter, with people visibly happy to catch up, delighted to have been able to do something so visible in their own street.