Dear Readers, you might remember that I’ve been keeping an eye on the Piet Oudolf-inspired planting around Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross, to see how it’s maturing and whether it has as much pollinator-attractiveness as it promised. Well, clearly there are no longer any gaps: have a look at this positive bank of Rudbeckia, which was attracting many hoverflies (none of which I managed to photograph, but they were there! I promise).What strikes me most, though, are the textures: this style of prairie-planting features many grasses and seedheads, and I think it works very well in this urban context. And if anyone can identify any of these plants, I would be most appreciative!
What struck me most, though was the sun shining low through these grasses. They really are stunning.
I only wish that when I planted things in the garden I was so conscious of how they would look at different times of the year. Or is this a happy accident? The sun was also lighting up these deep magenta asters, which were attracting a few of the last queen bumblebees before they settle down for the winter.
But what struck me most was not the planting here, but a much more modest planting just around the corner, close to the Waitrose supermarket and the Ruby Violet ice cream shop (highly recommended). There was a little family of young sparrows in the hedge – sparrows always love a hedge, for shelter and food and everything else that they need, and these birds were taking full advantage. It was lovely to hear them chirruping away, especially as they are now so much rarer in London than they used to be.
And a few metres away there was some lovely soft soil, just perfect for a dust bath.
Meanwhile, a robin sang from a low branch and occasionally cocked its head to listen to another robin before responding.
With a little thought, it’s very possible to create habitats and niches for all kinds of wildlife in the city, and they aren’t always where you might think. More power to the designers here for making space for the birds and the bees.
You can read more about Coal Drops Yard below, and see how the wildlife changes through the year.