Today is National Meadows Day here in the UK. This particular 'celebration' has wild flowers has its focus, but I have added inverted commas as the news is not all good. I read on the magnificent meadows site about '7.5 million acres of meadows and flower-rich grasslands that have been lost since the 1930s'. The English Heritage site tells much the same story here.
Due to my shielding (which continues in many respects until August) I have not been out in a 'proper' meadow for far too long, so I have chosen to post a few pictures of our garden which is currently a micro-meadow with a path for my daily exercise. I share the path with Blackbirds and think it must help them to see what is lurking at the base of the long grass.
|Is this a Carder bee of sorts?|
We simply allowed the lawn to grow, and it was not only grass that grew but Knapweed,
|You can see where the Nursery-web spiderlings hatched out: we watched it happen!|
and a plant with globular blue flower heads that looks as if it might be a garden escape, perhaps a species of Echinops or Eryngeum. Do let me know if you recognise it! It seems to attract ladybirds, and will, I hope, attract bees when the blue flowers open.
|Last year's seed head with this year's pupa, which should darken soon.|
It has been a joy to see more Meadow Browns than we have had before,
Ringlets, which we have not had before...
and more Skipper butterflies than there have been in previous years.
Butterfly Conservation's Suffolk branch supplied us with seeds for insects, which we grew in a trough. These are now a cluster of meadow flowers in the form of Cornflowers and Corn marigolds. I have also grown Poppies from seed.
I still recall Nursery School afternoons when the boys and girls my class marched off in a crocodile to Kippington Meadow in Kent. Part of our time in the meadow included forming a large circle to sing (and skip along to) 'In and out the dusty bluebells'. Meadows are so important for biodiversity and I feel sad that I have not been able to go out and see a bluebell this year. But I wonder how many children never have the chance to run wild among the buttercups and butterflies in swathes of long grass.