A year ago this month, Ventnor resident, Lesley Brown – aka the Ventnor Flower Fairy – approached Ventnor Winter Gardens to ask whether she could take on their three weed-infested and neglected raised beds.
Lesley set about transforming the flower beds and 12 months later they are a sight to behold. Bursting with flowers, colour and most importantly for Lesley, a feast for the town’s pollinators.
Zero budget but beds now boasting 300+ plants
With a little help to clear the three foot high weeds (with thanks to her partner Graham Middleton and Shamus) through her passion for bees, the community and her love of growing flowers, Lesley has gone on to volunteer her time to create what you see today.
She’s had zero budget but has managed to plant over 300 plants in these three beds. This was done by growing everything from cuttings, hand collected seeds and division of some plants in her own garden.
All grown at home
“The vast majority are pollinators, drought resistant and perennial. Despite the hot, dry weather recently, I have only watered these beds three times this year so far.”
The plants were all grown at home in her own garden, then carried down to the Winter Gardens tray by tray on foot, as she doesn’t drive.
The bees, and anyone sitting outside the Winter Gardens can enjoy the wonderful mix of wild flowers and garden flowers.
Bees don’t care what colour goes with another
Lesley went on to add,
“The beds are still very young, most plants less than a year old. Over this next year they will fill out properly and self seed.
“There is no colour coordinated theme because bees don’t really care what colour goes with another. Neither do flowers for that matter.”
Lesley finished by saying,
“I’ve had enormous fun doing this and have enjoyed the challenge. I do hope you enjoy the results, as you walk past or sit outside having a drink.”
Inspiration for others
Lesley is hoping that what she’ done at the Winter Gardens demonstrates that planting community areas does not need to be expensive or need masses of watering, can hugely benefit the environment and whilst making the town look beautiful and attractive to visitors (which all our businesses thrive on).
Lesley has approached BT, whose building on the High Street/Victoria Street junction is in need of brightening up.
She’s still waiting to hear back from BT, but hopefully when they see what she’s achieved at the Winter Gardens they’ll give permission (and perhaps even some cash towards it).
We’ll let you know what they say.