RSPB Nature's Home magazine feature
This spring ‘Nature's Home', the quarterly magazine for RSPB members, ran a wildlife gardening feature on the meadow belonging to, and created by Richard Brown from Emorsgate Seeds.
RSPB wildlife gardening expert Adrian Thomas visited Richard meadow in June to discuss the creation and maintenance of flower rich meadows in gardens, just as the flowers and visiting insects and wildlife reached their peak; even the fledgling kestrels in Richards meadow nest box made their first appearance on cue!
Richards meadow was developed over a period of 10 years from a pre-existing, and probably quite ancient, section of grassland that had lost its wild flowers (through overzealous weed-killing in the past). It still contained nice range of fine leaved wild grasses so was an ideal candidate for reintroducing a range of wild flower seeds. After first preparing the ground to create gaps, Richard added yellow rattle and a range of flower seeds each autumn for several successive years. In this way the range and diversity of flowering plants was gradually restored.
Key to the success of this, as for any meadow project, is ongoing grassland management; mowing and taking a hay crop at the appropriate time. The turning point in this came when Richard discovered scything with an Austrian scythe; this enabled him to cut his own meadow when it needed it and without relying on bringing in either machinery or contractors.
The restored meadow is now in its 15th year, still giving pleasure as well as being a test bed for Richards's ongoing experiments with meadow creation and management for plants and wildlife.
Posted on 29 January 2016,