The Water Gardens is considered an amazing example of biodiversity for shopping centres, and is one of the leading examples of the synergy between modern retail environments and attention to nature within the UK.
There is a diverse habitat from large lawns that provide a home to many invertebrates, to large areas of dense hedges that provide a habitat for insects and small mammals, flowering shrubs and flower borders that provide an amazing habitat for pollinators such as Bees, Hoverflies and Butterflies.
The main central beds around the bench areas and lawns have huge swathes of Lavender that are essential for pollinators and serve this local community of millions of pollinators each year. The care and attention of the dense hedge areas are essential for providing natural nesting sites for the wildfowl that populate the ponds and the centre, as well as providing shelter and nesting for many bird species and small mammals.
The annual and perennial planting in the ornamental beds provide an excellent habitat for insects and pollinators. Lupins, a beautiful summer-flowering perennial that stands tall among all other flowers, has also been added to the gardens; beautifully flowering between May and August.
The areas surrounding the centre adjacent to the surrounding roads, again provide a safe haven for insects, birds and pollinators. Offering an abundance of Russian Sage (Perovskia), various Ornamental Shrubs and areas of Buddleja which is a favourite of Butterflies.
Over the last few years attention has been paid to pushing natural wildflower establishment, including the edge of the lawn area by TK Max, Matalan, etc. There has been a conscious effort to establish an embankment of Poppies that return annually. In addition, bulbs have been planted, and wildflower mixed seeds were spread in the area adjacent to the underpass near the fountain.
The woodland area known as ‘Dad’s Wood’ creates an excellent woodland habitat for many small mammals and insect populations, the woodland has been well managed to create minimal disturbance to the creatures that call this area Home.
The top pond also hosts approximately 70 Koi carp and the middle pond approximately 1000 gold fish, with around 200 gold fish in each lily pond. As there are also ducks in the gardens, a Duck House resides in the middle of the lower pond.
The Water Gardens have planted an additional fir tree, these trees have amazing environmental benefits and help combat global warming, improve air quality by filtering harmful dust and pollutants and generate oxygen.
Many species of wildlife depend on trees for habitat providing shelter and protection.
We have just planted some additional wildflowers including Bluebells, Wild Foxgloves, Field Poppy, Red Campion and more.
The 100% native wildflower seed mix includes: Bluebell (endymion non scriptus), Red Campion (silena dioca), Garlic Mustard (allaria petiolata), Hedge Woundwart (stachys sylvatica), Betony (betonica officinalis), Wood Avens (geum urbanum), Meadowsweet (filipendula ulmaria), Wild Foxglove (digitalis pururea), Hedge Bedstraw (galium mollugo), Self Heal (prunella vulgaris), Hairy St Johns Wort (hypericum hirsutum), Wood Sage (teucrium scorodonia), Ramsons (allium ursinum), Upright Hedge Parsley (torilis japonica), Nettle Leaved Bellfower (companula trachelium), Corn Cockle (grostemma githago), Cornflower (centaurea cyanus), Corn Marigold (chrysanthemum segetum), Field Poppy (papavor rhoeas), White Campion (silene alba), Corn Chamomile (anthemis arvensis)
Existing wildflowers spotted today: Cuckoo Pint (arum maculatem), Annual Honesty (lunaria annua), Common Borage (borago officinalis), Common Yarrow (achillea millefolium), Hedge Woundwart (stachys sylvatica).