Romford gardener urges people to ‘get growing’ for bees

6:00 AM July 12, 2022

A self-described “flamingo fanatic” is urging the community to take up gardening as he showcases his bee-friendly garden in Romford.

Eric Willson, who has lived in Romford for around 40 years, said he is using his Ashdown Walk front garden to encourage pollinators because, he said, we “need bees to survive”.  


Eric said his sunflowers are ‘smothered’ in bees

– Credit: Eric Willson

“I grow almost all my plants from seeds from about December in my lounge, where I put a plastic sheet down with a lot of seed trays.  

“I try to get flowers that encourage bees and at the moment my sunflowers are absolutely smothered,” shared Eric.  

Other “environmentally-friendly” flowers include petunias, marigolds and geraniums, Eric said, all of which “bloom in a blaze of colour” in his garden.

Front garden

A blooming display

– Credit: Eric Willson


Having worked in mental health for eight years, the 76-year-old said he has always enjoyed gardening and frequently recommended it to clients.  

His favourite feature is his sunflowers, but he is also pleased with his flamingos.  

He urged everyone to “get growing plants”.  

Eric Willson

Eric made sure to feature his favourite birds in his garden

– Credit: Eric Willson

Eric previously received the Mayor’s Civic Award in recognition of his volunteering during the Covid pandemic.    

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