If there was a distinct buzz in the air on your commute through London Blackfriars this morning, there’s a reason for that. The station today (April 3) revealed a new living art installation: a train station especially for bugs.
Govia Thameslink Railway, the train operator for Southern, Great Northern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express, has worked with multi-media artist Alice McCabe to create this installation. The Bug Station aims to support biodiversity – particularly micro beings like bugs – and mirrors the eco-friendly projects currently being carried out across the Govia Thameslink Railway network. The floral installation frames the station’s view of London, and also marks the beginning of spring.
Although this tiny train station looks pretty, that’s not all there is to it. The colourful bulbs and blossoms are mixed with dry elements and more shade loving plants. A key feature of the installation is plant species such as nettles, brambles and dandelions. These specific plants are hugely important to our little bug friends. A single nettle patch can support over 40 species of insects, while dandelions can supply food to a number of pollinators, including bees, butterflies and hover flies.
Jason Brooker, Head of Environment at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “This living art installation is a visual reminder about the little things we can all do to help the planet. Rather than cutting back wildflowers and nettles, we should consider the wildlife that these plants help to support. This is something we’re actively changing at GTR to ensure the maintenance of our stations is balanced with supporting wildlife.”
GTR’s eco-friendly projects
Govia Thameslink Railway’s network have been involved in more than 100 landscaping and rewilding projects in recent years around their stations gardens. These have ranged from bee and bug hotels, to encouraging commuters and locals to enhance the biodiversity in their own back gardens or within community spaces. They’ve worked with the London Wildlife Trust Consultancy to carry out ecological surveys on specific sites, and this year will be actioning any findings to monitor, improve and enhance the biodiversity in these locations.
Back at Blackfriars, get inspired by the train station for bugs and get involved. You can bag free seed packets being handed out from Thursday, April 6. These will include wildflowers such as meadow buttercup, sorrel, and red Campion, which help promote biodiversity when planted – ask staff if you require more information.
The Bug Station will be on display at Blackfriars for a limited time only. When the display is removed, all of the materials featured will be donated and rehomed to GTR station gardens.
We’re buzzing to see what they’ll do next…