John Chambers Wildflower meadow at Burncross Community Garden
Burncross lies just outside of Sheffield City Centre. The neighbourhood is largely bounded by countryside with open fields and woods close by.
The local community has a group set up; the Burncross Action Team; dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to improve their local area and community.
In 2017, as part of a Greening Great Britain initiative with the Royal Horticultural Society, the Burncross Action Team approached the John Chambers Wildflower team to help them transform a forgotten 'grey spot' in Sheffield into a mini haven for wildlife.
The area had previously been used as storage for various materials and as a result it had a high salt content. The team took this into consideration and supplied enough John Chambers Pro Cornfield Annuals and Pro Coastal 100% Wildflower mixes to cover an area of 500m².
The John Chambers Pro Cornfield Annuals Rich 100% Wildflower Seed Mix and the John Chambers Pro Coastal 100% Wildflower Seed Mix has been designed and mixed with a range of wildflower seed for the professional installer. The Pro-range includes mixes that include more commonly found species to suit a wide variety of growing conditions. These mixes provide a beautiful wildflower habitat, encouraging biodiversity in urban landscapes.
Volunteers from the Burncross Action Team and pupils from Ecclesfield School and Windmill Hill Primary School helped prepare the site for sowing, which has led to an abundance of wild blooms.
They also created a super bug hotel to encourage wildlife.
The wildflower annuals established quickly and looked great the first summer. Wildflower Perennial’s take a year to establish so first flowered in 2018. The wildflower display was such that the team was proud to win the Britain In Bloom 2018 'Platinum award' for their Burncross Gateway Garden.
RHS Community Outreach Advisor, Gavin Hardy comments,
“The creation of a wildflower garden has been a huge benefit to the local community from the noticeable increase in biodiversity to the school engagement opportunities the project has generated. One of the big advantages for wildflower areas for community groups is that the maintenance required can be relatively minimal, in this case consisting of an annual cut in mid-summer and the odd bit of weeding to remove undesirable species. A small price to pay for one of the most eye-catching floral displays in the area.”
John Chambers Wildflower Manager, Stuart Ball added,
“Burncross Gateway Garden was an old council depot which with the help of the Burncross Action Team, the Royal Horticultural Society, Ecclesfield Comprehensive School and Windmill Hill Primary School, was turned from grey land into a green space with a wildflower garden and landscaping. This is a fine example of how beautiful a wildflower meadow can be if you have the patience to see it through. I am delighted that the Burncross Action Team are so pleased with the results. The first year of sowing the residents enjoyed a nice display of Annuals coming through. Two years on; there are many more species, giving it more colour and attracting more biodiversity. The annuals have continued to pop through but these have started to dwindle now as they’ve done their job of giving colour in Year 1 while the perennials were establishing. The show this year is simply stunning.”
Now in its fourth year, the RHS Greening Great Britain programme supported by M&G Investments encourages communities to come together to transform unused or unloved sites into vibrant spaces bursting with plants.