There has been lots happening to benefit pollinators across Edinburgh, especially since the launch of the Edinburgh Living Landscape, as Hebe Carus of the Scottish Wildlife Trust revealed in a recent catch up with Jim Jeffrey, SNH Pollinator Strategy Manager.
Edinburgh’s Living Landscape is a partnership of organisations in Edinburgh committed to a shared vision of improving the ecosystem health of the landscape as a whole – benefitting nature and the city’s people while taking the economy and costs of actions into account. We only launched at the end of 2014, and even in that short time, partner organisations are delivering big changes. With an estimated 14,000 gardens, numerous public greenspaces and many “grey” buildings that could be enhanced – a pollinator theme is a natural fit. As action can be taken at a tiny scale of window boxes up to changing large areas of some of Edinburgh’s parks, everyone can do their bit – individuals, businesses and public bodies, and that is exactly what has started to happen.
The Pollinator Pledge was launched just a year ago and led by Scottish Wildlife Trust. It is a campaign to get as many individuals as possible to sign up to take an action however small on their window sill, in their private garden or shared greenspace. We have even been approached by 2 businesses asking if they can take the Pledge, so momentum is building. If you live in Edinburgh and can plant a window box for pollinators, or if you have a garden then commit a corner or the whole garden for pollinators, take the Pledge and get involved here!
Business and office buildings are adding or improving small areas planted with pollinator-friendly plants. Dubbed Square Metre for Butterflies, there are already 9 new locations planted up. This project was led by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Butterfly Conservation and inspired by the rediscovery of a vulnerable population of Northern Brown Argus on Arthur’s Seat. The new areas are proving especially attractive to bees, but we hope the butterflies will benefit in time as we build the network of locations.
The City of Edinburgh Council have created 74 new wildflower meadows across Council parks, and a further number of “relaxed mowing” areas that pollinators, small mammals and other species, are enjoying far more than the bowling green “amenity” grass there before. We of course don’t want to see all grass changed to this – we need places to play football after all, but we need to get the balance right!
Scottish Wildlife Trust: Lothians Group have developed an urban wildflower meadow mix especially designed for ELL, and now sold commercially here. A shoreline mix in conjunction with Edinburgh Shoreline is now under development with the aim of reflecting what would naturally be in grassland along Edinburgh’s shoreline. The Trust is also improving its grassland at Bawsinch Nature Reserve, on the edge of Holyrood Park, by grazing with their Flying Flock and uses its tiny Johnstone Terrace Reserve to demonstrate what can be done right in the heart of the city.
All these projects are continuing to be developed and we encourage all individuals, businesses and other organisations in Edinburgh to get involved – contact us by email, through the website, Facebook, Twitter, or by using the hashtag #PollinatorPledge.
If you aren’t in Edinburgh, but you know someone that is, share the knowledge and we can all help make Edinburgh’s landscape better for pollinators as well as people.
Find out more about the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland on our website.