Mini-Meadow Bedstraws

The area of lawn behind Greenwood House that we have left to grow wild for the last couple of months, our mini-meadow, has some lovely colourful patches of small frothy yellow and white flowers. You might at first glance, if you notice them at all, think that they are just colour variations of the same plant but they are actually two separate species of the same genus. They are both Bedstraws but the yellow flowers are Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum) and the white ones are one of the eight species of white-flowered Bedstraw in the wild, maybe Hedge Bedstraw (Galium mollugo). The yellow flowers are noticeably scented and in the olden days were cut and dried to put in mattresses to make them fragrant.

As far as I know, no-one has seeded these flowers. They are occurring naturally. It is amazing the number of wild plants that are actually present but inhibited by frequent mowing from developing, blooming, and thus providing resources for wildlife .

Lady’s Bedstraw

Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum) is common round the village but can be seen best in greater numbers in the Nature Reserve. If the grass is left to grow on the slope in front of Greenwood House, it soon flowers through the grass, for as long as it is allowed to grow. It can also be found on the slopes around the village cricket ground. It has a sweet smell, especially when dry, and use to be collected in earlier times for stuffing hay mattresses and scattering on the floor to add fragrance to humble dwellings.