Brockwell Park Wildflower Slope 2013 to present

Wildflower SlopeOne of the highlights in the Brockwell Park calendar has recently become the brilliant lido wildlife slope. 2015 is the third summer in which the wild flowers have added a rural look to the lido front. Jason Cobb, Brixton Buzz, June 11, 2015


WFS 2013
Wildflower Slope 2013
WFS 2015
Wildflower Slope 2015

This year the slope had some setbacks but it seems to have a spirit all of its own and voila! It rose from the grey sludge of winter like a butterfly from a chrysalis.

It was such a blow in September 2013, to have found the Himalayan Balsam during the last season (this is a DEFRA listed weed nuisance) this obligated us to glyphosate again because of its propensity to spread.  This year (September 2014) however there was no sign of it and we could go ahead without glyphosating.

So in October 2014, Vinnie O’Connell and his team came to strim down the last of the flowers, it took us 3 days as we were not great experts with the strimmer’s! We left the flower seed to set, and then raked the dead stalks off three weeks later.

The slope then was left fallow for the winter.  As it was exceptionally wet, when the Trust Conservation Volunteers, led by Tom Nandi, came to rotivate and weed in February, it was really hard going.  The rotivating day was one of almost relentless rain and bitter wind.   Some parts toward the far end of the slope were impossible.  Tom did what he could and we hoped for the best.  When I lookout out on the grey churned up piles of mud in March I was filled with doom.  But we put down the extra seed we had collected the previous summer.

Gradually the slope started to ‘green’ and the first real surprise was the wonderful spread of Campion that bloomed in white, pale pink and a darker pink.  Then came the wild marigolds and the Californian poppies.  The buttercups, chamomile, poppies, corn cockle and cornflowers were next to bloom.  Another surprise is the tiny wild geranium and the purple and yellow clumps of vetch. We have Cecilia, Love in a mist, Toadflax, Scarlet pimpernel and some wild grasses that we added. We are now trying to getting a good mix of grasses and wildflowers.

We also have all the thugs of the urban jungle!  Teasel, thistle, creeping buttercup, couch grass, fat hen, dock, and this year’s most prolific – the wild mustard.  All of which we want in small numbers as they offer something to the invertebrates such as ladybird larvae, moths, beetles etc. but the trick is to manage them.


Many people joke about this being a ‘wild slope’ when they see us carefully cutting out a number of each of the above each week.  But we prefer to call it ‘managed wildness’.

Thanks to The Heritage Lottery Fund and Trevor Uprichard who facilitated the funding to 2014/15; Vinnie O’Connell, founder of New Leaf Dulwich; The Conservation Volunteers with Tom Nandi; The Brockwell Park Community Partners for the funding for 2015/16 – which secures another year of maintenance for the Wildflower slope.

We will be selling the wildflower and poppy seed, plus some cards of the wildflower slope and the popular tree towels at the Lambeth Country Show – all the proceeds go towards community events and projects in the Park. There is an ongoing requirement to maintain the wildflower slope which requires funding, and buying in extra seed from a wildflower specialist as we have to introduce new seed to keep the continuation vigorous.

Susy Hogarth, BPCP Secretary.

Volunteers urgently required for gardening project Thursday 15th May 2014

VolunteerDo you like gardening?

Are you available to volunteer at 10am on Thursday 15th May 2014?

The project: rotivation and preparation of the Norwood Lodge garden, 54 Brockwell Park Gardens. SE24 9BJ to create a river of poppies in commemoration of The First World War. To get involved, email Susy Hogarth, BPCP Secretary:

Brockwell Park’s poppy installations to commemorate the First World War

New LeafThis week saw the work begin on our first stage of our First World War living installations, at Norwood Lodge.

New Leaf’s Vinnie O’Connell – who is overseeing the project work – told us:

The furrows that we are digging represent the tank tracks that marked the fields that the poppies thrived in during the First World War.

And the pea shingle, that we have applied liberally, represents a tiny stone for each life lost on those fields.

Vinnie also recounted to us that when he told a passer by about the representation, she asked him to give her a piece of the pea shingle so that she could take it home and put it on her mantelpiece in memory of her grandfather who died in the first world war.

This perfectly represents what we hope our living memorial will achieve. There will be further beds of flanders poppies at the Herne Hill Gate and at the Tulse Hill Gate.