Landlife is a charity that inspires people to take positive action for nature wherever they live. We do this by promoting the development of new wildflower landscapes, creating environmental learning experiences, and, ultimately, helping people achieve better health and well-being through the outdoors. Landlife also founded the National Wildflower Centre in Merseyside in 1999, which now welcomes over 30,000 visitors annually. Through our work, we have raised over £21m to bring nature and people closer together.
At Landlife, we have continued to work regionally and nationally on new projects, informing policy and new directions, and shaping urban nature and environmental justice work. We also run a trading company, Landlife Wildflowers, farming wildflowers for seed and offering consultancy advice across the UK, as well as providing support and consultancy services for local authorities, community groups, landscapers and gardeners.
In 2014, we developed a project called ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, which went on to win the Grow Wild England Flagship Award, a UK programme managed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Headed up by the National Wildflower Centre, the project brought together Liverpool and Manchester, working collectively to use wildflowers, literature, art and song to promote the importance of flowers and nature to everyday life.
We worked with Friends Groups, the National Trust and a range of land management and other partners, to deliver spectacular displays of colourful wildflower landscapes along prominent transport routes, specifically Princess Parkway in Manchester, Islington in Liverpool, and in the landmark greenspace of Everton Park. In total, these landmark sites make up 10 hectares – the equivalent of 20 football pitches! And they are filled with colour and wildlife as a result of this project.
Using arts, music and popular science, the project generates involvement and excitement around the transformation of public spaces using native wildflowers. Working with festivals across these cities, such as Out of the Blue in Everton Park and Manchester International Festival, the project aims to engage with as many different cultures and individuals as possible. The name, A Tale of Two Cities, also plays on the Atlantic link between the cities along the Ship Canal and their trading past.
Another up-and-coming project is Grow Wild. Supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Grow Wild inspires communities, friends, neighbours and individuals across the UK to come together to transform local spaces, by sowing, growing and enjoying native wild flowers. Grow Wild believes that this simple act of creativity can turn spaces into beautiful, inspiring and colourful wildlife havens and encourage people to care for and delight in the nature around them.
A Tale of Two Cities continues to forge new partnerships across Liverpool and Manchester, linking environment, the arts, academia, sports and popular culture, uniting people and communities in both cities to experience, celebrate and respond to the beauty of wildflowers. For us, 2016 holds unlimited promise with more diverse species and more people coming aboard.