Having filled a car parking space with over 35 different edible plants grown in pots for Chelsea Fringe Bristol in 2014, we were faced with the challenge to come up with something different and perhaps better too! You might be interested in reading what we got up to last year and Bristol Mayor George Ferguson certainly was!
I think you will agree that we have done this with our bee and pollinating insect friendly planted Mitsubishi pickup truck!
The truck, for those petrol heads amongst you, is an old L200 that was destined to be broken up and crushed. Well, thanks to Mark Wilson the owner of Rockawaypark of Temple Cloud, it has had a stay of execution. Mark removed the engine and gearbox and after some pressure washing we were ready to plant.
But what of Chelsea Fringe itself? Perhaps you haven’t yet heard of it? I’m sure that you know of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and that it is a fairly exclusive event. Well, the Chelsea Fringe Festival was started by Tim Richardson as the perfect antidote to all the razzmatazz that is now so much a part of what is arguably the world’s best flower show. The Fringe is of the people, it’s inclusive, arty, fun and definitely a low budget event.
Chelsea Fringe Bristol has been a part of the late spring festival for several years and has a wide range of events. Other towns, cities, counties and countries get involved. For example in 2015 there are Chelsea Fringe events in Milan, Ljubljana, Cambridge, Cornwall, Henley on Thames, Australia and Japan!
Although our planted truck is under the banner of Chelsea Fringe, it seems that a lot of other festivals like the idea too! It has already been part of Bee Bristol [a National Urban Pollinators initiative] outside @Bristol. It will be a part of the Bristol Festival of Nature 2015 in and around the Millennium Square right in the heart of Bristol and then at the start of Bristol Big Green Week. After this, the truck will return to our garden centre at Cleeve before making a final appearance at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden‘s Bee and Pollinating Insect Festival weekend in early September.
You might be interested to know what plants we used in the truck and whilst there is no room here for the whole list I will list some of the major ones.
Food crops that rely on bees –
Fruits – Apple, white currant, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry and gooseberry.
Vegetables and herbs – Mangetout, broad beans, cavalo nero kale, chives and thyme.
Plants that we are growing in the cab –
Tomato, chili, pepper, aubergine, courgette and cucumber.
Plants in the swag and drop bags on the sides –
Verbena, thyme and Mexican Fleabane
Plants in the back –
Alyssum, verbena, nasturtium, Salvia, bee balm, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, iceplant, pot marigold, borage, snapdragons, Marguerite, thrift, viola and catmint.
Of course, most of these plants have simple single blooms that are more attractive to pollinating insects. Some not only feed those insects but their flowers are edible too!
We hope that you are planting plenty of bee friendly plants this summer and that you are leaving some places where bumblebees can nest.
Are there any plants that you grow that you feel are especially important to pollinating insects?
What other edible crops do you grow that rely on bees and pollinating insects to produce food for us?