Weed-infested flower beds replaced with 300 plants, grown by hand with zero budget, by one champion volunteer

Lesley Brown asked to take over the weed-infested raised beds outside the Winter Gardens 12 months ago and has totally transformed them with zero budget and a lot of hard work.

Lesley Browns plants at the Winter Gardens

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.

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

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.

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

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. 

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

All grown at home
Lesley says,

“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.”

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

 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. 

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

The bees, and anyone sitting outside the Winter Gardens can enjoy the wonderful mix of wild flowers and garden flowers. 

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

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 Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

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.”

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

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 Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

Next project
Lesley has approached BT, whose building on the High Street/Victoria Street junction is in need of brightening up.

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

The building sits next to our much-loved Ventnor Giant, created as part of the Lift the Lid Project, and has a strip in front of the building that Lesley has asked if she can plant up.

Phlegm's Ventnor Giant Mural - Photo by Julian Winslow

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).

Outside the BT building
Outside the BT building
Outside the BT building
Outside the BT building

We’ll let you know what they say.

Lesley Brown's wonderful flowers at the Ventnor Winter Gardens

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 10:53am

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2mWY

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Ventnor

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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10 Comments on "Weed-infested flower beds replaced with 300 plants, grown by hand with zero budget, by one champion volunteer"

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chartman

What a star! Well done. Let’s hope she doesn’t come up against ‘red tape’ with BT…You can’t plant flowers there incase someone sneezes/gets hay fever and sues us…

Tim

Well done Lesley!

profoundlife

Great to see someone making the world a better place

Steve Goodman

Thank you for the uplift Lesley.

And the opportunity to remind ourselves that it’s not just possible and desirable for us to do more of this, and guerrilla gardening, and incredible edibles, and growing our own, and supporting community and local agriculture, and permaculture – it’s undeniably essential in response to our environmental emergency.

lifewriterbutmainlybeer

Goodwill is alive, kicking and living in Ventnor!

elemental

The planters look beautiful! Thank you for your hard work & dedication Lesley & good luck with future “greening’s-up”. Inspirational!

Rowan

Well done Lesley. I especially like the fact what you’ve planted are not only beautiful for us humans to look at, and good for insects, but also mostly perennial plants which don’t need watering once they’re established.
http://climatefriendlygardener.co.uk/climate-friendly-gardening/

Rowan

For anybody else who wants to choose plants that are good for pollinating insects, there’s good advice from the Royal Horticultural Society:
https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-pollinators

Rowan

There’s an excellent book on ‘Plants for Bees’:
https://www.ibrabee.org.uk/component/k2/item/3014-plants-for-bees

Rowan

And some good information from Buglife:
https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/pollination