While many of us hit the shops for last-minute lockdown supplies this week, volunteers on St Matthew’s Piece were stocking the larder for insects.
Bees and other pollinating insects are essential to the life cycle of plants. But their numbers are plunging as the amount of open land dwindles and their sources of food disappear.
Volunteers from On the Verge Cambridge and Friends of St Matthew’s Piece came together on a sunny November morning to plant the Piece with hundreds of wildflower bulbs. On the Verge Cambridge works with schools and community groups to plant wildflowers in suitable spots, so insects don’t have to fly long distances in search of food.
The group planted anemones, bluebells, winter aconite, wild garlic, crocuses and snakeshead fritillaries, each in a different part of the park. When the flowers bloom, they will provide a rich supply of nectar.
St Matthews’ Piece is currently threatened by developers who wish to build a large block of flats on its northern edge.
“It’s such a beautiful place, with all its stately trees – but developers want to cut some of them down,” said Janet Wright, of Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.
“So many people come here with their children or just to take a walk. From next year on, they’ll be spotting flashes of colour as various flowers start coming up. I just hope they won’t have a block of flats looming over them.”
“Quite a few people walking through the Piece were pleased that we were planting flowers and hoped the planned development wouldn’t be allowed.”