Wildflowers for St Matthew’s Piece

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.

Ben Greig and Jo Scrivens from On the Verge Cambridge, with volunteers from Friends of St Matthew’s Piece setting up their banners before planting wildflowers

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.

Ben Greig from On the Verge Cambridge, planting wildflowers on ST Matthew’s Piece

St Matthews’ Piece is currently threatened by developers who wish to build a large block of flats on its northern edge.

Artist’s impression of the student flats hovering over the former Howard Mallett Centre like an alien spaceship

“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.”

Friends of St Matthew’s Piece can be contacted by email at friends.of.st.matthews.piece@gmail.com or followed and liked (here) on Facebook.

Ben Greig and Jo Scrivens from On the Verge Cambridge

Find out more about On the Verge Cambridge, here, or email Ben Greig, Alice Willitts and Jo Scrivens by email at onthevergecambridge@gmail.com.

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2 Comments (Don't forget to scroll down to subscribe to website updates.)
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Martin L-S
Martin L-S
6 December 2020 14:36
Val Neal
Val Neal
6 November 2020 17:39

What an uplifting story! A real antidote to the stressful headlines on so many other fronts. Thank you to all of those who have made this happen.

Less than 5 months after St Matthew’s Piece had been formally opened – it was reported in the Cambridge Independent Press of 11/11/1898 that a meeting had been held at which the kindly and dedicated Vicar of St Matthew’s Church (Rev. J. Hargrove) reported that a local ‘sub-committee’ then too had been “purchasing many beautiful plants and shrubs, to the number of about 150, for planting” on St Matthew’s Piece.

The Cambridge Mayor himself, Mr. S. R. Ginn, who had presided over that meeting (held at the old schoolhouse on Norfolk Street), emphasised his commitment to this local community.

In a reflective and forward-thinking mood, on his very last evening as Mayor, Mr Ginn was reported as saying: “As years rolled on, the Town Council would awake to the fact that it would be to the interest of the town to have healthy dwellings, pure food, and better surroundings for the people”, followed by applause.

Amen, say I.

The On The Verge team, and Friends of St Matthew’s Piece are doing their very best to help bring about Mayor Ginn’s optimistic vision.

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