We are always looking forward to sample pollinators in allotments as this can be so much more interesting and rewarding than most of the other urban habitats that we sample. Walking into an allotment site is like walking into a different world: All of a sudden, we are surrounded by flowers and vegetables, buzzing bees, ripening fruit and the wind rustling in the leaves. We can almost forget that we are in the middle of a busy city.
|A typical allotment site in Reading|
Allotments are like green oases in a concrete desert, especially in areas without many gardens. There is a newly-found interest in allotment gardening at the moment and many people try to grow their own vegetables without pesticides which is good news for the wildlife.
|Vegetables and flowers mixed together in this wildlife friendly allotment|
You can attract lots of bees to your allotment if you sow Phacelia
as a green manure and let it flower
Allotments are under threat as councils and private owners of allotment sites are tempted to generate income by selling off allotment land for site development. But luckily, ‘statutory' allotment sites (as opposed to ‘temporary’ allotment sites) are subject to some protection under the 1925 Allotments Act so land on which such allotments are cannot be sold off as easily.
A wildlife friendly allotment site in Tilehurst, it was amazing to see all the bees and hoverflies
visiting flowers planted along the edge and in between the vegetables
Let’s hope that future generations of allotment holders will be able to enjoy allotment sites to the same extent as the current one, and that such sites will be able to provide a lifeline for some of the wildlife to survive in an increasingly challenging urban environment.
|A wildlife paradise ...|
Borage is loved by bees and once you plant it it will seed itself aroundand you never have to plant it again
You can also watch the two allotment videos I recently made to see how my own allotment looks now and to get more ideas of how to make your plot more wildlife-friendly.