This summer the Unit's wild flower meadow surrounding our entrance and carpark is flourishing. The prominent red campion's pink flowers are easy to spot; some of the other species include: white campion, cuckoo flower, wood avens, bird's foot trefoil, ribwort plantain, wild strawberry, black mustard, yellow rattle, white dead-nettle, black medic, teasel, cowslip and columbine. We have a Common Spotted Orchid flower spike growing, and hopefully this will open in the next few weeks. The meadow, although small, has a range of different conditions; from the full sun of the left-hand side, to the dark corner above the bike sheds; which will help it support a good range of species. The yellow rattle is a parasite of grasses, and so helps keep the grass from becoming too large or successful and out-competeing the flowering dicot species.
Wildflower meadows have declined by 97% since the 1930s. Last week, the Prince of Wales publically supported a project by Plantlife, the Wildlife Trusts and Rare Breeds Survival Trust on the 60th Anniversary of the Coronation. The project aims to create "Coronation Meadows", as well as a comprehensive inventory of the nations remaining meadows. One meadow will be announced in each county by the end of the year. The first 60 were announced last week to mark the 60 years since the Coronation, but the target is 107. News item at BBC. Telegraph article.