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Mike's Blog - Day 30

These Cowslips are in the top part of the meadow if you crossover “Meadow Bridge” down by “Fungate”.

This meadow and the woods you can explore through “Fungate” are fairly recent additions to the garden. The woods belonged to the Zoology department and for many years were left abandoned. The meadow was a field let out for grazing with no access from the garden because of the stream.

When the park and ride and new college was built access to the field was more difficult and for a long time we had wanted to let people into the woods.

We build a makeshift bridge to get us into the meadow, this was washed away after a few years but, like “Fungate” for the woods, the Friends funded the stone bridge too get us into the meadow and pinetum.

I’ve sent a picture showing the fields and meadow before we took them on, when the college and park and ride were being built. The light blue bits are the wood/meadow and the smaller blue bit is the Pinetum. There was a lot of work to do in the meadow, so it’s rewarding to see it looking so good now, the cowslips are where the portacabins are in the picture.

In the cowslip picture top right you can see a hedge. We replanted this hedge with rose, hawthorn and holly – seeds which we gathered from other hedges in the field as a large section of hedge was removed when the building works began, just above the portacabins in the other picture. It’s satisfying to see the hedge looking quite mature now, there was so much diversity, particularly in the hawthorn, when we gathered seeds from the remaining hedges. Some berries were small and very dark red, ranging up to much larger ones which were orange. We sowed the seeds in the autumn after removing the seeds from. the berry (to replicate a birds digestion), and we pretty much got 100% germination in the second spring, ie nothing came up at all in the first spring, it took another year.

The old hedge was so diverse I think Dr Phil Gates even took a photo of each meter at one time. Those hedges have certainly been there a very long time.

We have no plans to plant trees in the meadow, we want to keep it as an open meadow habitat. In June its quite prolific with Chimney sweep moth feeding on pignut.