One of Riverside Naturally's aims is to increase biodiversity in the green spaces within Riverside. We are now in a place to be able to extend the Community Orchard and develop a low growing wildflower meadow.
Our plan is to plant a combination of low-growing wildflower plug plants and seeds - in an area totalling 40 sq m in the north-west corner of the amenity grassland adjacent to the orchard.
The area will consist of one large crescent-shaped patch, and four or five smaller patches in the enclosed space of the crescent.
Sufficient space will be left between the patches, and between the patches and the existing paths, to enable the council’s mowers to mow in between.
You can find out what is growing in our meadow here.
We started preparing the ground on the 4th May 2021. This means marking out the plots and cutting the grass very short, with the cuttings cleared off and the top soil raked and stripped back.
With great thanks to our funding from CSET we have bought plants, seeds, tools and now an electric strimmer which will help maintain the paths and patches throughout this blossoming space.
Planting and we will be planting ten species of low growing wildflower - some will be plug plants and some will be seeds. Plug plants are seedlings that have an established root system that can be put straight into the ground and will increase the chances of successful growth.
We also installed a temporary rabbit proof fence to give our new plants the best possible chance of surviving.
Any work undertaken will be done safely and within current COVID guidelines.
Trustee Gillian has been working on BioBlitzes this summer - investigating and logging all living species that are making our wild flower meadow their home. She has mapped out a 10m x 10m square area of our wild flower meadow and spit it further into 4 smaller quadrants.
In our meadow we have spotted:
Common Bird’s-foot trefoil
Common Velvet Grass
Creeping Buttercup - not in flower
Meadow Buttercup - in flower
We have also spotted a variety of mini-beasts including mini flies, buff-tailed bumblebees, red tailed bumble bees and ants.
As well as various grasses there was clover.
Observed outside of the quadrants, but within the survey area, there was the iris and plenty of Cuckoo flowers. Observation in May also showed Grass pea, Ribwort Plantain, Speedwell, and later in June the red clover flowered.
Different times of year, weather and many other factors contribute to what is spotted during our surveys. BioBlitzes will be conducted throughout the year and we are keen to hear what you have spotted in our meadow - let us know on Facebook.
Increasing biodiversity is something we are working on as part of our core values - find out why here.
For further reading there have been a number of articles written on the decline of wildflower meadows in the UK- the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent have a good overview why this matters.
The RSPB, the RHS and The Eden Project have guides to making your own wildflower meadow too.
If you are keen to see some for yourself in the spring and through summer The Wildlife Trust have a list here of ones you can visit.