Hervey-Brookes to replant Harrogate

Leading garden designer secures Harrogate city parks brief with a focus on boosting biodiversity.

The Harrogate challenge is to increase biodiversity while reducing costs - image: Paul Hervey-Brookes
The Harrogate challenge is to increase biodiversity while reducing costs - image: Paul Hervey-Brookes

Harrogate Borough Council has enlisted garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes to help improve biodiversity in the local area and increase wildlife habitats.

Hervey-Brookes is working with the council's parks team to design and plant beds in two high-profile sites in the city. The first site, the In-flight Garden on Montpellier Hill will feature plants such as Onopordon, Sanguisorba and Eupatorium that attract insects such as crab spider and important but endangered pollinating insects such as bees and moths.

"In turn these attract small birds as a food source particularly during the chick-raising life cycle. This will bring to life to an area of habitat and also create something visually stimulating for passers-by," said Hervey-Brookes.

The second element of the project, located in Harrogate's Valley Gardens, is the Nectar Bar. The site will incorporate a 'habitat hotel'

- a hollow cube constructed from green oak and filled with logs and dried stems - designed to support frogs, toads, ladybirds and bees.

Hervey-Brookes said the key to the success of the project was to create a scheme that reduced overall maintenance cost to the council, had a long lifespan and at the same time created a visual enhancement for public enjoyment.

"Harrogate is an exemplar in terms of public planting schemes and speaking to those involved it is easy to see how good public planting can be uplifting and an inspiration, creating a sense of community and pride," he added.

The development of the city's gardens is an extension of the 2010 Harrogate in Bloom campaign in which projects were designed to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity by using plants with a higher biodiversity value.

Harrogate council's head of parks and open spaces Patrick Kilburn said creating biodiversity schemes was important both for the city and for its inhabitants. "We hope the completed gardens will not only provide beauty but will also inform and inspire people to consider how they can make changes to increase diversity in their own gardens," he added.

The project will be the focus of a new BBC series fronted by Sarah Raven.

Key habitat creation plants include:
- Onopordon acanthium
- Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'
- Sedum matrona
- Digitalis ferruginea
- Salvia 'May Night'
- Knipofia 'Dorset Sentry'
- Aster 'Kristina'
- Achillea 'Summerwine'
To attract wildlife such as:
- Stag horn beetle
- Solitary, bumblebees and honey bees
- Newts
- Damsel bugs
- Parasitic wasps
- Chaffinch, linnet and goldfinch
- House sparrow, robin and blue tit

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