Richmond has a new 5* hotel - but it's only for bugs

  Posted: 14.08.20 at 14:17 by Sam Petherick

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Bugs can now check in for a stay at a new insect hotel on Richmond Riverside after a group of community runners applied the finishing touches.

A slate roof was carried onto the six-storey hotel by members of GoodGym Richmond, a charitable running group.

It marked the completion of the project that was the brainchild of Richmond resident Anita Capewell.

The hotel stands in the middle of the Three Pigeons Plot which Anita and GoodGym members have dedicated hours to building up into a stunning flower bed.

In May, the bed was blooming with poppies as the UK commemorated the 75h anniversary of VE Day.

Layer-by-layer deconstruction

Anita decorates the slate roof with a small ‘tree’, in honour of the trees that provided the timber for the pallets and frame

The insect hotel is made up of six wooden pallets stacked on top of each other, with each layer containing different furniture.

Anita said the choice was informed by a combination of recommended materials, availability and aesthetics.

• Underground: Buried logs. We dug out all the soil from underneath, buried the logs vertically and then backfilled with earth.

• Pallet 1: Large stones, logs and dried plant material.

• Pallet 2: Red London bricks.

Terracotta pots and tiles under the slate roof

• Pallet 3: Small plastic (BOL salad) pots to be filled with short lengths of hollow canes, reeds, bamboo and plant stems.

• Pallet 4: Bundles of twigs with a decorative border around the edge made from discs of wood.

• Pallet 5: Woollens. Inside is woollen clothing, with the outside decorated with rolled coils of wool carpet.

• Pallet 6: Logs with holes of differing sizes (2 - 10mm) drilled into them.

• Roof space: Terracotta pots and tiles.

GoodGymmers cheering the completion of another stage in the hotel's construction

GoodGym Richmond

GoodGym Richmond holds ‘community missions’ at various charities and groups which need help with practical tasks.

Members have been delivering much-needed provisions to Richmond Foodbank which has seen demand rise fourfold during lockdown.

Recently they went to the Petersham and Ham Sea Scouts and carried out multiple garden maintenance tasks; cut down unwanted Norway Maple and Sycamore trees on Petersham Common; delivered leaflets through letterboxes for the Landmark Arts Centre and much more.

To sign up visit the GoodGym Richmond website.

Floors four and five of the hotel

Incredible hard work pays off

The Three Pigeons Plot flower bed is next to a former pub with the same name, and it was adopted by GoodGym Richmond last autumn.

Anita said: “The Three Pigeons Plot has been a fantastic project.

“Hard work, new territory for everyone, but immensely rewarding. The stunning location by the Thames and the positive response we receive from the public have made it very special.

“The possibility of adopting the plot was first suggested as a way of celebrating GoodGym’s 10th birthday in September 2019 (the Richmond group turned four last month).

GoodGym Richmond adopting the Three Pigeons Plot - in pre-covid times

“From the outset we shared The Richmond Society’s vision of developing the plot as a wildlife garden and it is amazing to be celebrating the completion of the planting and “Topping Out’ the insect hotel in under a year.

“All thanks to the generosity of donors (especially Petersham Nurseries, Homebase Richmond, J J Roofing), support from Richmond Council (The Parks and Recreation Department, Phil, Mick Mallon and colleagues at Townmead Recycling Centre, Richmond Landscape Contractors, Henry at Terrace Gardens) and the incredible hard work of so many GoodGym runners, many of them new to gardening. Such a brilliant, friendly group.”

She added: “Initially Covid-19 and Lockdown threatened to be a huge set-back but we were able to respond positively by introducing solo sessions, giving everyone who signed-up an opportunity to get out of the house and include watering and gardening in their permitted daily exercise.

“The insect hotel and the planting are now substantially complete but like any garden, it is a long term project.

“It will be a few years before the more structural planting including dwarf acers, myrtle, ceanothus and buddleia around the insect hotel have matured and there is plenty of space to experiment with seasonal planting.”

Project complete

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