London’s green roofs are buzzing again. Back in 2010 the Buglife Green roof project funded the installation of a number of green roofs across the capital. Five years on the roofs are thriving and so are the bees. Over the last few weeks Livingroofs.org has been back to visit a few of the roofs designed for biodiversity by the Green Infrastructure Consultancy.
Buzzing ‘Beatles’ on the Abbey Road
Abbey Hive is a community centre at the opposite end of the road from the zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles on their album cover. We are glad to say that, although the Beatles have long since gone from the street, the buzzing beetles and bees are having a ball on the green roofs.
We are glad to say that, although the Beatles have long since gone from the street, the beetles and bees are having a ball on the green roofs. Swollen-thighed flower beetles were seen relishing the multi-coloured flower display on the roof. Brown-banded carder bees and bumblebees were definitely buzzing along to ‘love, love me do’ as they foraged for nectar amongst the viper’s bugloss and bird’s foot trefoil.
The buzzing Abbey Hive
Owned by Camden Council, the community centre is part of the wider Abby Estate more correctly known as the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, an iconic modernist housing estate designed by Neave Brown in the late 1960s. Many of the roofs and balconies were designed to take soil and vegetation. The balconies along the centre walkway have gardens. Some are kept well and some have been left to what they do. The smaller roofs were greened and have been left to their own devices. For some reason, although the roofs were designed for vegetation, the Abbey Hive community centre was left bare, or the vegetation and soil was removed at some point.
The Buglife project either completed the job or returned the roofs to how they were meant to be. So thanks to Buglife, London Borough of Camden, Landmark Livingroofs and the Green Infrastructure Consultancy the buzzing is back.