Wildflower Meadows for Wildlife.. Inside Your Meadow..
Meadows are wonderful, evolving entities. The first year of any meadow it has a huge array of beautiful annuals for colour, however your subsequent years are always a fantastic surprise as to what you will get. Different flowers will germinate in different years all dependant on the condition of the soil, weather etc.
As the years roll by, the meadow will become ever more diverse as the slower establishing species gain a foothold and growth of the pioneer species plants slow. The meadow will eventually evolve a stable character but the balance of plants may not reflect the original seed mix.
In year 2+ of a meadows life the best way to appreciate it is to get ‘inside’ the meadow. By that I mean really get in to the lower levels of the meadow, the floral display is of course beautiful and fragrant, and a source of food for pollinators. However to really appreciate what your meadow is doing for wildlife you need to get right down to the soil levels.
From the first shoots of growth a meadow will become a haven for wildlife and this will only increase as the meadow establishes. Depending on the way in which you choose to maintain your meadow will determine the wildlife that are calling it home. If you leave your meadow over winter without cutting and clearing you will end up with a whole array of wildlife using your meadow not only as food in summer but also over the winter months as food and shelter. Increasingly industrialised agriculture has meant that the winter stubbles and game cover that used to provide farm birds and non-hibernating mammals a home over the baron months has now become rarer and rarer, your meadow can provide that much needed habitat.
The mix of plants in the subsequent years will always be a wonderful surprise dependant on the seed mix you used at the time of creation, however what is even more of a surprise is the breath of creatures and plant life that you will have within the meadow. Not only the obvious pollinating species of bee and butterfly that you would expect but also there will be many crawling insects, worms and ground dwelling beetles, spiders etc. With these species comes the natural predators of them; so you will also find a plethora of small mammals, birds, bats and reptiles will also be calling your meadow home.
I always advise all my clients that to really appreciate their meadow go and get in to it, take some time sitting quietly an amongst the nature and really appreciate what you have done to improve the natural habitat of your land.
To talk to me about creating a meadow or another Land Management/ Wildlife project please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07973 796406.