Planting wildflowers at Whitworth park

Figure 1: Only the hardiest museum staff could survive the hail...!

As part of the museum’s commitment to ‘being greener’ a few of the museum team took part in a wildflower planting exercise at Whitworth park today.  Pete Stringer from Red Rose Forest was our host and he began by explaining a bit about some of the benefits of wildflowers and short histories on some of the species we would be planting later on.  The work was being carried out to compliment the hedgerow that had recently been planted; with the eventual aim of working around the entire Western border of the park.

Pete also explained a bit about i-trees just before planting began.  This is a great piece of empirical research to show town planners just how important green space is to help urban environments withstand the impacts of climate change; such as warmer summers and increased rainfall.  The research team have been measuring the infiltration from three different plots; just asphalt; asphalt and trees; and a covering of grass.  The results so far suggest that a covering of grass is up to 99 times better for rainwater infiltration than asphalt.  Though seemingly intuitive, Pete and the team’s research gives important empirical data to bring to town planners.  They have also demonstrated the cooling effects of trees and grass.  A combination of shade and evapotranspiration mean that underneath trees it can be as much as 30% cooler than surrounding urban areas.

Figure 2: We carried on planting regardless!

Anyway, back to the planting.  As may or may not be apparant from the photos, it hailed for about two minutes whilst we were planting; perfect timing!  But we weren’t going to let the hail put us off our task; we soldiered on regardless!  In the end it was very worthwhile and we had a nice cup of coffee and cake to reward us for our efforts afterwards!

Figure 3: It was tough work but somebody had to do it!

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About Trainee Curator

I will be writing a blog about the next twelve months spent as a trainee biological curator based at Manchester Museum.
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