With not a bird, a tiny insect or a green leaf on site the fabulous Story Museum was in need of a bit of ‘wilding’. At NaturEscape our brief was to install planters with underplanting to create a pocket sized whispering wood as the first stage of the greening up project. With no vegetation between Christchurch Meadow and the Castle the hope is that this mini wood will become a stop off point for bugs, bees and butterflies and bring to nature into the urban space.
We looked back in time to the uses of the building which holds many tales and guises from the 17th century as college dwellings, a sorting office, a telephone exchange, a pub and a student building and now it has become the award winning Story Museum. We designed three large movable planters using UK Larch, a sustainable wood each with brightly painted handles. With a nod to the sorting office past one was made with a pallet dolly as its base.
Each planter houses a mini eco system. One has a Strawberry tree (Arbutos Unedo) and is underplanted with wild strawberries and native ferns. There is plenty of evergreen interest and foraging potential. Second is a contorted hazel with twisty branches and hazelnuts and early pollinator friendly Pulmonaria, Helleborus, hearts tongue fern and Sweet Woodruff. Lastly with a spring blossoming tree and autumn fruits a crab apple with underplanting of grasses, Verbena Bampton and Erigeron for long lived flower power and pollinators.
We have definitely seen an uptick in biodiversity with the addition of the planters and they are loved by staff, children and adults alike. The whitefly in the dry humidity were also very happy but hopefully the ladybirds have also benefitted. This tiny green corridor will bring nature in and inspire storytelling and the playful imagination.