Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The traditionally managed meadow is blooming

Walking today with the dogs I had several nice surprises.  First of all, two roe deer ran out of the hedge in front of me, so close I could have touched them.  Then, I found a gooseberry bush I'd not spotted in all the 26 years I've been walking down that lane (pie anyone?) but best of all was the colourful spectacle of the wild flower meadow.
traditional wild flower meadow in early may
This picture doesn't really show the colours and it certainly can't show the contrast between this meadow and the arable field beside it.

It's actually quite a bright yellow (cowslips just going over and buttercups just starting to flower) with patches of white (daisys)

Walking through the wild flower meadow today took me back to the playground at Bayford Primary School where we used to spend every summer break time making daisy chains to adorn ourselves with.  Do children make daisy chains anymore?

The centre of the meadow is in full bloom but the grasses aren't growing particularly well.  Hardly surprising when you consider how dry the weather has been.  In the shady areas though, the grasses are growing quite strongly, some are even running to seed.

some of the grass species are begining to flower,
particularly in damp, shady spots
 Not many bees or butterflies in evidence on the meadow today - they're all too busy working amongst the may flowers. Wild flower meadows are great for wildlife but they definitely work best in conjunction with hedges and mature trees and shrubs.  I reckon in about a fortnight's time there'll be elderflowers aplenty.  They'll go lovely with the gooseberries in a pie and I think I feel a batch of elderflower cordial coming on too....better go and order some bottles and jars.

A tiny speedwell nestles amongst the
buttercups in the traditional wild flower meadow
longer grasses and cow parsley thrive in the shade
while buttercups abound in the open.  There's nothing
uniform about a traditional wild flower meadow
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