In recognition of Oxfordshire-based Howbery Business Park‘s support of bumblebees over the last year, the award winning horticulture, and national grounds maintenance, Nurture Landscapes, has presented the team with the Biodiversity Award inscribed with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) logo.
Over the last 12 months, the Howbery team has planted more bee-friendly flowers, created a herb garden and helped improve public awareness of bumblebees via social media. The team had to meet the award’s specific criteria set out by Nurture Landscapes and the BCT.
Nurture’s Managing Director Peter Fane presented the award, which had the BCT logo inscribed on one of six petals, to the Howbery Estates team last week. Bees are the first of six focus areas in the award scheme, and other petals will be inscribed once Howbery has supported other types of wildlife. The team has picked birds as its focus area for the next 12 months and is supporting the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).
“Howbery is a trailblazing business park in the way it embraces ecological initiatives, and we’re delighted it has completed its first year in the biodiversity scheme,” said Peter. “It’s shown that the approach really does make a difference on a local level. It’s exactly what we hoped for when we designed the Biodiversity Award in partnership with several conservation groups. ”
Over the last year, Howbery’s gardeners have noted each month which existing plants were visited by bees, with the aim of making sure that they have a plentiful food supply while out and about. To help plug any gaps, the gardeners have added a range of bee-friendly plants, including a whole new herb garden, wild garlic, a huge patch of wildflowers, and perovskia, verbena bonariensis and sedum.
For the new herb garden, the team bought herbs grown by the UK-based Hairy Pot Plant Company. They were picked for their eco-friendly measures, including using peat-free compost and coir pots, rather than plastic ones.
To meet its objective of helping improve public awareness, Howbery shared bumblebee facts on its internal communications and social media channels, and gained coverage of its bee work in local publications and websites. A group of school children were also due to learn about bees on a visit to the park, but that had to be been postponed because of the coronavirus lockdown. It will be re-scheduled for next spring.
Howbery Estates Manager Donna Bowles said: “We’re delighted that we signed up to the award scheme as we can clearly see the biodiversity improvements that we are making. We have been committed to biodiversity for a long time at Howbery but the Nurture scheme gives us more structure – and knowing we have made a difference to bees has definitely given us all a buzz!”