Warren Gardens Wildlife Haven – Twickenham
Habitats & Heritage are working in collaboration with local residents Nikki Clapp and Colin Mitchell to transform a neglected area of Twickenham Riverside into a visually attractive, biodiversity hotspot. Through planting, the removal of invasive species and the creation of key habitats, The Haven will provide a welcoming space for residents, wildlife and pedestrians alike. We would like to thank Richmond Council, volunteers and the local benefactors who have all contributed to the success of this project so far.
OUTLNE OF THE PROJECT
Sunflower Garden – This area sits at the end of Denton Road and is a main path from the residential area to Twickenham Riverside. It receives the most sun in summer and is therefore well suited for sunflowers, wildflowers and a mixture of other wildlife-friendly plants.
Wild Garden West – Following on from the Sunflower garden, the Wild Garden West will retain some of the existing flora, with the addition of a number of shrubs, evergreens and bulbs as well as flower, pollen, nectar and berry producing plants. These will add structure and vibrancy to the space and species have been chosen with the interest of wildlife at heart. Also in this area will be a hand-weaved deadwood hedge for composting plant material on site.
Wild Garden East – This mid-section will be left largely wild. In the centre will be a stag beetle loggery, surrounded by an existing nettle patch. Despite their reputation, nettles are extremely beneficial for wildlife as they provide pollen, nectar and sap to a great number of invertebrates. They attract pollinators to an area and act as a magnet for pests, drawing bugs like aphids away from roses for example. A small number of wildlife-friendly plants will be mixed into the garden, such as hawthorn, salvia and lavenders.
Rose Garden – Facing Twickenham Riverside, the Rose Garden sits behind the two memorial benches on the towpath, commemorating the loved ones of local residents. A mixture of rose varieties have been chosen for this area that not only look and smell beautiful, but also bring value to pollinators, insects and birds. Amongst the roses, spring bulbs will be planted, providing a seasonal source of colour, pollen and nectar.
Other features include:
- Bat boxes
- Bird boxes
- A hedgehog home
- A log border to retain soil and keep the path clear for pedestrians
MEET THE RESIDENTS
I became involved with the WGWH because it adjoins the Thames Path National Trail and the point where a memorial bench to my dear Persian wife (Tala) was installed in 2021. The bench is inscribed with a Persian quotation “Golestaneh Tala Joon” which in English means the “The Rose Garden Of Dear Tala”
Unbeknown to me, the land behind the bench was to be the site of a project to create a wildlife haven. The project was at a standstill for want of a project manager, so I offered my services to help move things forward. It soon became apparent that there was an opportunity to divide the land into four themed gardens. Now known as the Sunflower Garden, Wild Garden West, Wild Garden East & Rose Garden.The term “Rose Garden” has deep significance for people of Persian background because it refers to book of the same name (Golestan) by the Persian Poet Saadi Shirazi who lived in the 13th Century. He and the Golestan are to a Persian, what Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales are to the English. Saddi’s global influence today is proven by a poem inscribed on a large hand-made carpet installed on the wall of a meeting room in the United Nations building in New York. It is taken from the Golestan Chapter 1 Story 10, The Manners Of Kings:
“The sons of Adam are the limbs of each other.Having been created as one essence. When calamity of time afflicts one limb. The other limbs cannot remain at rest. It thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others. Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of man.” Shortly after work started I was delighted to see another memorial bench installed alongside that of my wife. It was dedicated to “Baba Salahshourian” the father of a Persian family who own a flat right next to mine. It’s a small world!
Photo shows Lucy Smale & Nikki Clapp holding copies of Saadi’s Golestan. To their left is Mahtab, daughter of “Baba” and to their right is yours truly.
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