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Wildflower meadows

Our open spaces officer Simon, explains the wildflower meadows you may have seen around New Forest district. (August 2017)

Wildlife meadow Why a wildflower meadow?

Since 1945, lowland meadows have declined by 98% according to The Grasslands Trust. This staggering loss has implications for the natural ecosystem, since grassland and nectar-rich meadows produce an essential habitat for a wide range of birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife. Natural grassland support more "priority species" than any other habitat according to The Grasslands Trust.

Where are the flowers?

Our wildflower meadows will not flower all year round but remember this is a native wild space. This area hosts plant and animal species that will come to life from April/May onwards and flowers throughout the summer depending on the weather conditions and species present.
In the Autumn we wait for the seeds to fall to the ground and then cutback the died-back flowers with the cuttings being removed.

What flowers will we see?

When planting our wildflower meadows we select species that would have naturally been located in this space, and therefore will thrive. It takes several years for the delicate natural ecosystem to establish. The wildflowers you see will depend on the time of year and the weather - meaning you may see different flowers in some years as the weather varies.

Why has the grass died?

When we establish a wildflower meadow we need to try and hold back the turf species to allow the wildflowers a chance to establish and get a foothold. Without this the delicate wildflowers are swamped, reducing the biodiversity and the display. Once established the wildflower meadow re-generates each year, only occasionally needing a helping hand to remove aggressive "weeds" (such as bracken, bramble, nettles etc).

How can you help?

Once established wildflower meadows are robust and will adapt to changing conditions, some species preferring shady areas or full sun, wetter areas or dryer sections. Please help this meadow establish and regenerate by; avoiding walking through the meadow and keeping to the paths, especially in early years. Please leave the flowers for others to enjoy and the bees and insects to feed from. The insects need the nectar as food and the germinated flowers provide many seeds which form next year's meadow; sustaining this meadow for future years.

Problems?

If you experience any problems or wish to nominate other NFDC managed areas for potential wildflower meadows, please get in touch customer.services@nfdc.gov.uk 

Background information:

adobe icon Butterfly fact sheet 2017 [1Mb]

adobe icon Species fact sheet 2017 [3Mb]

 

Updated: 3 Aug 2017
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