Day of a Thousand Plugs

Out in the grounds at Compton Verney tomorrow, we’re playing host to a group of volunteers on behalf of Give & Gain Day 2013. This is an international day of employee volunteering which for the 2012 day saw over 19,000 volunteers from 391 companies take part, for the benefit of over 339 community groups. It is the UK’s biggest day of Employee volunteering.


This year I’m glad to say a planting project in the grounds has been included for Give & Gain Day action. A group of volunteers from the Lloyds Banking Group will be joining our present grounds volunteers and staff to substantially push forward our wildlife conservation activity.

Our west lawn has a split management system with 50% mown regularly for recreational green space, with the remainder being left to grow tall; allowing wildflowers to flourish. The longer lawn area has been developed over the last few years to diversify the ecology that exists across the site; a thriving example of a ‘Capability’ Brown landscape garden. The planting project, through Give & Gain Day will add a wider range of native wildflower species which in turn will encourage a wider diversity of insects.

Preparation for the event started many weeks ago at a site meeting with Business in the Community representative Mary Judge, and the Black Horse team leader for the day Judith Robinson. You can see from the above photograph that at that time, the west lawn area wasn’t very inspiring at all. Since then however, you’ll see below that grass has grown and the few wildflowers that do exist are beginning to make their presence known.IMG-20130513-01008

You may also see above our newly installed Compton Verney bee hives, yet another step in the right direction we hope. In due course we hope our establishing colonies will become the beneficiaries of our west lawn wildflower planting – a kind of allotment for bees!

Preparation was geared up earlier this week (in advance of the forecasted heavy rain) when I took a rotovator for a slow walk around the lawn to prepare specific areas for planting. (To be honest, the machine took me for a walk…) After just a few hours the result was around a hundred square metres of nicely turned soil; all ready for planting. This method will hopefully allow the new plug plants enough time to settle in without totally devastating the look of the lawn – which needs to be smart!


And so to the planting… We’ve received our collections of plants from Naturescape, all on time and with good root systems and it’s all down to us now – no pressure! The chosen varieties will specifically benefit bees, butterflies and moths, and hopefully a host of other insects. Furthermore, the chosen flowers will also offer a range of flowers that will interest people – those who appreciate native wildflowers that is. Just look at the little beauties below – can’t wait!

IMG-20130516-01053We’ll be out there tomorrow enjoying our day of a thousand plugs, and hopefully tweeting with muddy fingers as we go. If you’re planning a visit to Compton Verney tomorrow, May 17th, do pop around to the west front and say hi!

 Link to more Information – Give …and Gain Day: Museum Network Warwickshire