Pollinator garden flourishing and extended with new plants


The race was on to try and get the second half of the pollinator garden done, before the short-rains commenced in Nairobi in November, and getting organised, was taking longer than anticipated. But finally we had a date, and we sent word out to the volunteers who had helped with the first planting.  Amazingly, given the late notice–not only did they turn up, on Saturday 26 October, they invited their friends and colleagues, in what was turnout of about 20 volunteers.

I’ve heard it said that “many hands make light work”, and it was certainly the case that day.  With fervor the volunteer friends attacked the work – having first to remove many wheelbarrows full of a considerable amount of sandy soil, and plants in containers that were embedded in the space.

Then on to refill the same space with good quality red soil and manure–again more wheelbarrow and spade work. This took a few hours, and while some of the team was busy on this, others were giving the Boscowen area a sweep, which included scrouring out embedded dirt in the floor slabs.

Part of what drove many of us was seeing the progress already made with the first half of the pollinator garden done three months earlier. The plants have grown considerably, and are doing well. Flowering were the pentas, ocimum, firecracker flower Crossandra sp., and the leonotis already 6ft tall.

Perhaps even more importantly we observed bees and flies visiting the flowers. Why is this important?  The pollinator garden consists of local flowering plants that attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators who visit to feed on their pollen and nectar.  In this way the garden will support biodiversity at City Park, and give visitors, including school children an opportunity to learn about this extremely important aspect of food production called pollination.  Many people also enjoy watching birds, bees, and the incredible diversity of other visitors to flowers.

On Saturday we prepared the ground, and on the following Monday we had a smaller party spend a couple of hours, putting in the flowers that were kindly donated by Celia Hardy of Plants Galore.  Celia also gave advice, and positioned the plants so that when they are fully grown, and flowering they look good, compliment each other, and do not compete for space.

The pollinator garden is extended to about 15m, and now runs the extent of one side of the Boscowen collection area.  The area of the butterfly exhibit is also now planted with flowers attractive to butterflies.

We want to thank the Park Superintendent, and staff at City Park for helping and supporting the pollinator garden and butterfly  house.

We will monitor its progress, publicise it more as it grows and matures. If you go to City Park, visit the pollinator garden, which is near to the Bowling Green Restaurant.

We also gratefully acknowledge with many thanks – the Youth committee, and other volunteers, and Celia Hardy–for your amazing work, and support.

By Catherine Ngarachu

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