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Make your yard space into a ‘yarden’

At Better Start Bradford, we have spruced up our outside area near our car park by planting wildflower seeds with the help of local nursery children. We now want to encourage the local community to turn their back yards into ‘yardens’.

Our Better Place Manager, Johanna Mawson, shares her thoughts and tips.

Johanna’s blog

I started work earlier this year to manage Better Start Bradford’s Better Place Project which is being established to develop environmental projects in our area of Bradford. The focus is on making greenspace more attractive and useable for under fours and their families, but also looking at improvements such as safer more attractive walking routes and small scale local improvements, which will benefit the whole local community.

One of the challenges in our area of Bradford is the number ‘concrete gardens’ and yards there are. It would be great if more flowers were growing in these yards and gardens especially because greenspace and nature is good for your health. Research has shown that green and getting outdoors is good for you and at the Better Place Project that’s a message we want to share to encourage families to get their little children outdoors.

I want to encourage the local community to turn their yards into a ‘yarden’. Flowers don’t just make things better for people, but also make places better for wildlife, including: butterflies, bees and birds. They all use the seeds, nectar and pollen produced by the flowers as food and shelter.

We are hoping to plant more flowers and meadow areas and improve especially as cities are now becoming really important areas for nature and wildlife.

You don’t need a big garden to sow some wildflower seeds. You can even sow the seeds between the gaps in paving stones – some seeds are particularly good for this, for example: poppy seeds, foxgloves or even small herb plants such as thyme, oregano, marjoram and fennel which you can also use in cooking.

It’s really important to have flowering plants like the ones we have sown in the planters, such as poppies, cornflowers, and babies breath, not just because seeing them can make people feel happy as they brighten up the grey city environment, especially on a dull day.

How to make your own ‘yarden’ and involve your little children

To start introducing more flowers into the Better Start Bradford area, we have purchased some wildflower seeds from Pictorial Meadows and these have been sown in the wooden planters by the Mayfield Centre gates.

Before we sowed the seeds we had to clear out the planters first and weed the soil. All of this waste plant material has gone into our new compost bin which will make compost that we can put back on the garden to improve the soil when it has rotted down!

The children from the Children’s Place nursery at the Mayfield Centre helped with the activity, which is fun to do. We mixed the seeds with sharp sand so the children could see where they had already sprinkled the seeds as the pale coloured sand shows up against the bare soil. When the seeds were sown the children watered them – I think they enjoyed this bit the most!

If you want to have a go at creating a successful meadow in your yard or garden, Johanna has developed some useful questions and answers for you to download:

How to create a mini meadow successfully

The gallery below shows how our planters have grown over the last nine weeks.

By Johanna Mawson, Better Place Manager