Meet me at the Gates: Summer planting for pollinators

As we wrapped up our project with Cavendish School and Hammersmith Community Gardens Association, Project Co-ordinator Sarah Eastabrook looks back at our summer activities and the broader significance of the project.

Cavendish School students returned this May and June to experience the glory of summer at workshops in our Kitchen Garden. They continued their outdoor practical science and nature activities and learnt to identify roses, lavender, phacelia, nasturtium, fuchsia, love-in-a-mist and lots more. They also spent some time observing how blossom develops into fruit, which was especially evident on the tiny pears that were already appearing on our step-over fruit trees in late May.


The children planted calendula seeds and seedlings into the flower beds, with some particularly lavish attention from the watering team who took their job very seriously. They relished making seedballs with soil, flour and wildflower seeds: a bit like a muddy version of cake-making, mixing and squeezing the gooey stuff until it had become a tight little seed bomb, ready to burst onto a patch of earth wherever a little injection of wilderness was needed.

I love planting; I have an apple tree at home.


But where do the flowers come from and how do they produce seeds? Enter the pollinating insects and our very own team of beekeepers who gave the children some brilliant hive demonstrations in June. I certainly learnt a tremendous amount from these workshops, but the children seemed very well-informed about the role of pollinators in the eco-system and asked some very probing and detailed questions about bee lifecycles and hive organisation. They also spotted some of the other pollinating insects enjoying the Kitchen Garden, including hoverflies, ladybirds and even a beautiful blue dragonfly.

I had a beetle on me.

There’s a ladybird on Katy’s shoe!



It has been a pleasure and a privilege to enable the students from Cavendish Primary School to experience the Kitchen Garden through the seasons. Their understanding and appreciation of the natural environment is impressive and their joy in discovering the plant and insect life of the garden was truly uplifting. They have certainly left their mark on our Gardens, with the Corney Road Gate transformed into a pollinator wonderland of nodding poppies and daisies. We thank them for their energy and enthusiasm and for doing their bit to ensure the continued survival of their own corner of the planet’s eco-system.

Thanks to Katy, Poppy, Michael and Hamida at Hammersmith Community Gardens Association; Miss Black and the students from Cavendish School; our lovely volunteers: Concha, Jan, Jill, Louise, Mary, Rebecca and Sue; and our own gardening team at Chiswick House & Gardens Trust.

Find out more about Meet me at the Gates and watch a short film to see what the students thought about the project.



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