Last week we finally got to sow wildflower seeds in Places Meadow. The work began last autumn when the Park team sprayed strips of grass with herbicide. The herbicide worked well and killed the grass –the intention being to allow the seeds to germinate and the wildflowers to establish without being smothered by competing grasses.
Our original plan was to sow the seeds in the autumn as some of them need a long period of cold over the winter to trigger their germination. However, Mother Nature intervened to thwart our plans and the weather turned wet once again and the ground became waterlogged. As a result Places Meadow had standing water over much of its surface until a couple of weeks ago and that was when it wasn’t flooded with up to 1 metre of water. In fact the meadow has flooded at least 3 times this winter and has been largely inaccessible.
The seeds were supplied by Emorsgate Seeds a specialist wildflower seed company that produces seeds crops grown from stock seed which itself was originally collected from the wild in the UK. Sowing was done by hand with the 200g of seed being mixed with sand as a bulking agent before being scattered on each strip.
We are now waiting with fingers crossed to see the results this summer. It may take several years for the meadow to reach its full glory and as the plants become established they will be allowed to set seed before the meadow is cut for hay in July or August. When the hay is cut, it is left to dry and turned several times to help with the drying before being baled. Each time it is turned wildflower seeds will be scattered over the field and hopefully in a few years time we will have a glorious meadow full of wildflowers, bees and butterflies.
Simon, Park Warden