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  • The Rother Alliance

Bexhill's Marina Wildflowers

Article by Cllr Polly Gray

This summer is the second year that the gardens at Bexhill Marina have been planted with wildflowers, they are very beautiful and hugely beneficial for our depleted biodiversity.

Previously the flower beds were planted with seasonal bedding, planted twice a year. This was expensive and wasteful as the plants could not be re-used, and the continuous re-planting and cultivation resulted in a build up of perennial weeds. This meant that the beds were left empty for a couple of years to eradicate the weeds. Meanwhile the beds were planted with seasonal bedding plants, in tiers of plastic buckets (like cake stands!) which was unattractive and left the upper layers exposed to the prevailing wind, so that they did not survive for more than a few weeks.

Last year the beds were planted with an annual seed mix Pictorial Meadows Aqua, ( which looked stunning but were not long lasting due to the very hot, long dry summer and not enough water. The resulting seed heads, although not colourful, were attractive and a good source of food for birds. This year two thirds of the gardens are planted with a Treasure Chest mix (https://www.pictorial and one third is a different annual mix called Kingfisher ( This was planted as turf in December 2022 rather than grown from seed. Perennials are slower to establish from seed and vulnerable to damage for a long period, therefore turf was recommended.

The perennial mix should be more drought tolerant and provide a longer lasting display every year, changing gradually over the growing season as different species develop. The remaining annual mix will be planted with perennials and should last indefinitely. It may be necessary to replant at some point, e.g. if one species becomes dominant or perennial weeds become established and spoil the display.

One downside - rats! Last summer the rat population built up, due to many factors including the very hot dry weather, and this was not known until the vegetation was cleared. This year the area is being monitored for rats and any preventative measures will be implemented if advised to do so.

On the plus side, this has resulted in considerable savings for RDC, as well as providing the positive value of wildflowers and their seed heads for insects, pollinators and bees, We all know that wildflowers are essential, as we have lost over 97% of wildflower meadows in the last few decades, this is a small but vital contribution. In the words of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins: “Long live the weeds and wilderness yet”.

Written by Councillor Polly Gray

(with thanks to Brian Griffiths, Parks Technical Officer, Neighbourhood Services, RDC)


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