This mini meadow was started in 2013 as part of our Lost & Found project. It’s an experiment based on research by Professor Dave Goulson to determine how effective the introduction of small plots of wildflowers are at increasing numbers of pollinators – particularly bumblebees – in a domestic garden. It’s also a fantastic way of using a patch of ground with poor soil, turning it into a spectacular garden feature. It requires very little maintenance – just a cut once or twice a year.
Dave Goulson and Lorna Blackmore showed that by increasing the number of wildflowers in plots of grassland by 25 times, the number of bumblebees can be increased by 50 times and the number of hoverflies by 13 times – compared to control plots without an abundance of flowers.
We haven’t run controlled experiments but the meadow has certainly transformed our plot, attracting five more species of wild bee, and more moths and butterflies including the six-spot Burnet moth, small copper butterfly. There has been a large increase in insect abundance generally and consequently more birds. Hedgehogs began visiting during the second season and are now breeding. On summer evenings a haze of insect life drifts above it and at dusk we sit in the shadows waiting for bats to swoop down to feed. At the end of the season the seed heads of knapweeds look beautiful with charms of Goldfinches hanging from their stems.