Hackbridge Rain Gardens planting – 10 January 2023
On 6 January, Idverde removed all the compacted soil ahead of schedule. This meant that volunteers could do the more enjoyable work of planting. Despite the rain, we had volunteers from the wider community in Sutton, as well as our Hackbridge Litter Group, local residents and Idverde who helped us.
Three of the small tree pits were under water and we decided not to put plants in them and ask the Sutton Council if they can help alleviate this. The plants earmarked for these were planted in Hackbridge Pocket Park and Hackbridge Community Garden. We have also just found out our funding application for fencing around the small tree pits to protect them from cars has been successful.
This is one of the largest sites of our project, which will hopefully have a big impact when the bulbs and perennials are in flower. As the bulbs were planted later than we liked, we will have to wait and see how long it takes them to grow!
(click on image to see larger picture)
It has been a year since we cleared out the rain garden beds and planted up the tree pits and we were finally in a position to remove the compacted soil and replant on 5 & 6 December. Frustratingly, when we arrived, there were many workers and vans installing CCTV and we were unable to access some of the beds and had to postpone. Idverde are very kindly looking after the plants for us until we get another date. Meanwhile they used the days to remove all the green waste we had put in the corner of Hackbridge Green, took away hundreds of leaves and lay a mulch over our newly planted border. We hope that might deter the squirrels from eating further tulip bulbs!
Hackbridge Green planting – November 2022
Exciting times as plants were delivered to Hackbridge Green on 11 November 2022. Residents worked hard earlier in the year tidying up and removing overgrown shrubs. In March we had the good fortune of being able to re home some shrubs from the New Mill Quarter site opposite as they prepared to commence building. Some inevitably died through the drought, but this saved us a lot of money, especially as the price of plants went up since our funding application.
The new planting will brighten up the area and hopefully lead to less antisocial behaviour. There have been many hours spent planting over a 4 day period, with over 300 bulbs left to plant!
A selection of images showing overgrown shrubs, some new shrubs re-homed from Barratt’s and area completely cleared ready for new planting.
Images below show some of the new plants and bulbs mid planting.
New planters outside Sainsbury’s Local – November 2022
We got permission for three planters along the edge of Hackbridge Road to try and stop illegal and dangerous parking on the pavement. These will be changed twice a year with winter and summer planting displays.
Bulb Planting – 2022
As we continue our vision to Plant up Hackbridge, we have ordered 9,000 bulbs through Sutton Council’s community scheme, plus plants and other bulbs through our fund. Our aim this autumn is to plant up the following areas:-
- Wolseley Road – 22 October 10am – 1pm
- Verges over the road bridge by Hackbridge Station – 29 October 10am – 1pm
- Reynolds Close – completed
- Hackbridge Green – 12 & 13 November 10am – 12pm
- Centre of Hackbridge rain gardens – 5/6 December – removal of topsoil and getting beds ready for planting
To do all this, we need your help too! Keep an eye on our website and social media sites for dates coming up where you can help.
Hackbridge Pocket Park
We have been working with Thames Water and the pocket park behind the tile shop has now been replanted. However we know there are major issues with squirrels digging up the bulbs and some of the plants. We have replanted these on numerous occasions, but think we will be disappointed with the bulb display come spring.
The Hackbridge Litter Pickers secured a bin, which is helping to keep the area a bit tidier. Barratt Home contractors continue to use this space for their breaks and hopefully once the development is finally finished, the litter will not be so bad
Historic interpretation board
It has been fascinating finding out about the history in the immediate area around Hackbridge Green and creating this interpretation board, which was put up on 10 April 2022. We hope you find it interesting!
We are trying to put together a resource of history for our area. If you would like to find out more, have a look at our History of Hackbridge webpage and let us know if you would like to help us.
Hackbridge Green planting
We were pleased with the bulb display along the side of Hackbridge Road, which produced a mix of snowdrops, crocus, fritillaries, Hoop petticoat narcissus, chionodoxa, mascara, dwarf narcissi, tulips and summer snowflakes.
We were disappointed with our crocus swathe as the mix wasn’t what we ordered, but also the density wasn’t there. We certainly saw a lot of fat squirrels over the winter in that area, who we know are very partial to a crocus bulb or 50! Both areas were followed by wildflowers, even having red, white and blue ones in time for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee!
We secured 3 planters and 2 fence barrier planters which get changed twice yearly providing summer and autumn planting and has brightened up a concrete corner and stopped illegal parking.
We were giving the opportunity to dig up plants from Barratt Homes site opposite, so they can complete the final section of building along Hackbridge Road. With one evening notice, residents came out to help give plants a new home, in what was a whirlwind of activity! A lot of the mature shrubs are surviving, saving us budget meaning we can purchase bigger shrubs as we continue improving the border.
Bulbs along London Road
Although we didn’t get to plant up the rain gardens, we did put in bulbs in the tree pits, which brightened up the area in Spring. A couple of the tree pits were damaged from cars running over them, so we are looking at applying for funding for fencing to protect them. The bulbs and wildflowers along the verges provided a good display and hope for higher density next year.
Bulbs planting on verge outside BedZED
on 3 April 2022 planted bluebells and wild garlic ‘in the green’, which means the bulb has already grown and is the best way to ensure they get established quicker. We had a great turnout and planted over 2,500 bulbs in just the one day.
Sadly a week later, we noticed that all the green growth of the bulbs had disappeared. We knew they wouldn’t grow this season and expected to see the leaves dying back, so were very disappointed as it is likely they were removed by hand, rather than animals.
Mass bulb planting
At the end of October 2021, thousands of bulbs were planted using Lubbe & Sons’ special machine. It cleverly plants bulbs and spread wildflower seeds on top. We planted along two of the grass verges on London Road and on Hackbridge Green. We were unlucky that there was torrential rain the following day, so we hope all the seeds haven’t been washed away and eaten by squirrels and birds!
Rain Garden and tree pit clearance
A big thanks to local residents who helped out on 16 October 2021 to remove the old plants and weeds from the beds. We found an awful sewage smell in a couple of the beds which Sutton Council are investigating, a lot of litter and a flip knife!
Not to be deterred, we were back on the 13 November 2021 and planted hundreds of daffodil, crocus and tulip bulbs in the tree pits, so we have some colour for next spring, while we await to finalise the planting for the beds.
Plant up Hackbridge is an initiative led by residents to brighten up our local area. David Tchil and Lysanne Horrox worked incredibly hard in securing major funding, which will build on previous community planting projects and objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan.
The areas of improvement listed below will be completed on a phased approach over the next year or so, dependent on Covid restrictions and planting schedules.
- London Road – mass bulb planting along the grass verges
- Heart of Hackbridge – replanting the rain gardens, potential new rain garden by Sainsbury’s Local to alleviate flooding and deter illegal parking
- Mile Road Pocket Park – new planting
- BedZed Community Field – soil improvements and raised beds
- New Mill Quarter – child-friendly and biodiverse friendly raised beds and fruit trees
- Hackbridge Green – planters, information board, new boarder planting, bug hotels and bulb swathes
We need you!
Part of our application includes community involvement and this is where you come in!
During lockdown we have seen how people started exploring their local area as part of their daily exercise. We are all appreciating the jewels in our neighbourhood and these improvements will add to this. We are looking for people who are interested in planting and maintenance. Maintenance might include watering, deadheading, weed removal, litter removal, pruning.
Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.