Dalton Park is the first retail park in the North to have introduced a Pollinator Parks® garden
About Pollinator Parks®
During lockdown in 2020 we worked with community interest company Climate Action North to transform the under-used garden area beside our M&S Outlet store into a Pollinator Parks® Garden.
Launched in March 2019, the Pollinator Parks® initiative demonstrates how we can all practically support and care for our wildlife and repair broken ecosystems using small-scale rewilding methods.
After recently gaining trademark status for the initiative the team at Climate Action North are gearing up to rewild business and retail parks throughout the North of England. Dalton Park is the first retail park in the North to have introduced a wildflower meadow through the Pollinator Parks® scheme.
Pollinator Parks® Garden at Dalton Park
This project is the first in a series of phases to develop our existing outdoor spaces into areas that will help a wide range of species thrive and flourish. Over 350 wildflower plants suitable for bees, butterflies and birds were planted all guaranteed native to mainland Britain and containing over 40 different species, some of these included:
Red Campion – A burst of Red/pink flowers in summer act as an important feeding station for our native bumblebees and butterflies in the high summer, whilst some caterpillars can call their leaves their home (and their breakfast too). Campion leaves and roots can be used to make a natural soap.
Dark Mullein – A splendid tall plant with lovely yellow flowers, and furry leaves, soft to the touch. A great nectar plant for bees and butterflies and food for the Moth named after the plant.
Primrose – The name means ‘Prima Rosa’ or ‘First Rose’, and although no relation to roses, it does have a beautiful rose-like creamy yellow flower, and flowers in April/May time. Not just an early pollinator but useful too: its roots were once used to make a concoction to cure headaches.
Oxeye Daisy – A tall plant, not related to the smaller field Daisies, (which is also loved by a wide range of insects) and giving that super ‘Day’s Eye (the morning sunshine) look.
To further bring the Pollinator Parks® Garden to life we asked local willow artist Ruth Thompson of Sylvan Skills to create a sculpture as a centre piece. A butterfly perched on a flower seemed the perfect design. You may have seen some of Ruths other creations around the North East, such as the Wicker Man at Low Burnhall in Durham.
Why is this project so important?
Wildflower meadows act as habitats for pollinator insects, such as bees and butterflies, whose functions are estimated to be worth £690 million each year to the UK’s economy alone.
A raft of scientific evidence has shown that insect numbers around the world are undergoing alarming rates of decline, with bees, ants and beetles disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles
We previously invited Butterfly Conservation to Dalton Park who outlined the importance of butterflies on the estate including the Dingy Skipper, Common Blue and Grayling.
We have a clear responsibility to nurture biodiversity and we are helping to do that by creating safe spaces for a wide range of species.
These meadows will also bring a colourful, welcoming and attractive landscape for our customers, hardworking staff and retailers to enjoy.
We look forward to seeing the garden bloom over the next few months. Once the new plants are established, we will be opening the gate and inviting you to take a stroll through the garden to see the area a little closer.
At Dalton Park there are also 55 acres of landscaped Parkland on the Dalton Park estate which is a habitat for a variety of wildlife and has 3 signposted walks. Find out more here.
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