Greenwood Mini-Meadow Update

In the early evening light yesterday, after another very hot day, the Greenwood House mini-meadow was looking very flowerful with a profusion of the bedstraws, and the yarrows more in evidence among the dried grasses. I noticed for the first time some single stemmed specimens of Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), and a solitary thistle (?Spear Thistle – Cirsium vulgare). Not bad for an area which has been left to its own devices for the first time after being mown constantly for about 150 years. These flowers were there all the time and never had a chance to flourish before now. This experiment has led to a quick increase in biodiversity for the grounds, and a wonderful larder for wildlife.

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 .

Greenwood’s Mini-Meadow

At Greenwood House we would like to be more wildlife friendly. A space has been set aside with the idea of seeing how we could manage a wilder area designed to increase biodiversity.. It lies to the south of the building, beyond the plain rectangular lawns, the gravel paths, and cropped Whitebeam trees, and slopes down to the boundary that separates our property from the Council-managed grass and trees below.

It has just been a couple of weeks now since the last grass-mowing. By leaving the area to grow, it is hoped that the habitat will be enhanced and provide for greater numbers of pollinating insects and birds. A variety of grasses and wild flowers are becoming more apparent already. I am not certain of the accuracy of my identifications but I reckon we have Buttercups (Ranunculus sp.), Daisies (Bellis perennis), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and White Clover (Trifolium repens), Ox-eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare), Sorrel or maybe Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosa or R. acetosella), Black Medick (Medicago lupulina), Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), Cat’s Ear? (Hypochaeris sp.), ?Ground Ivy (Glechoma hereracea), Silverweed (Potentilla anserina), Common Whitlow Grass (Erophila verna) and Cock’s-foot Grass (Dactylis glomerata)., and much else not identified.

I shall be following our new mini-meadow’s progress with enthusiasm. This is just the first stage of a managed wild area to see how it might work out. Later, in the autumn, I understand that native wildflower seeds will be sown, and possibly some small plant plugs inserted.