The grassland wildlfowers really hit their stride this month. I love their names, a list of them reads like some ancient poetry, the meaning of which has been lost in time: black medick, burdock, greater birdsfoot trefoil, vetch, knapweed cornfield poppies, oxeye daisies, hawkbit, wild carrot, red clover, white clover, tare, there are so many to discover.
Field Poppies: Ernie Janes (rspb-images.com)
These wild grassy habitats provide food and shelter for a great many insects, birds and mammals and there is more information on the importance of meadows from the Magnificent meadows project in partnership with many conservation organisations including the RSPB.
At Flatford, our little patch of meadow at the garden is cut once a year in July, as the ancient hay meadows would have been. This allows the seed-heads to form, and then seed the ground again before the arisings are taken away. We always leave about a third uncut, to leave overwintering butterfly larvae and other invertebrates in peace.
Whilst out and about on a walk, it can be really enjoyable spotting and getting to know unfamiliar wild flowers and the wildlife that are attracted to them.
To get children engaged with wild flower spotting in their local area, there's a wildflower foray activity they might like to try. The RSPB also offer a first book of flowers for children plus a clearly laid out what's that flower easy identification book for the whole family.
There are many wild flowers that we regularly see and are familiar with but there's always more to learn and it's such a pleasure, just to spend time in and around a meadow.
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