At the start of 2020 OiB, Wildlife Friendly Otley and Otley 2030 were working together to provide Leeds Parks department with a guide on how to introduce more trees and wildflowers to Otley. We were especially interested in changing road verges from barren green grasses to more interesting wildflower areas which would offer friendly places for wildlife and reduce the carbon footprint of maintaining verges.
Leeds Parks found other areas of Leeds to plant up before Otley and then…. Covid struck. Despite this, the Otley organisations kept talking and looking for alternative groups to work with. It was with great excitement that we found that the BT telephone exchange on Charles Street was happy to let us intiate a wildflower meadow in their garden. We considered planting up the garden in the Spring but the weather had been beautiful and dry so we were concerned we would not be able to keep it watered, hence we let the Spring pass.
Autumn looked a better bet and so, in September, six socially-distanced members of OIB and WFO started with this roughly mown area.
Focusing on the front rectangle of grass we mowed the grass again, and again, and again. This allowed us to get down to the turf of the garden. Then we used a turf cutter to slice strips out which we flipped over. The addition of 0.5 kg of wildflower seed and about the same of dry sand scattered by hand over the newly exposed earth seemed to work well. Over the coming few days the British weather did the right sort of things and watered the seed in. Some of it will require colder weather to trigger germination.
We will sign-post the area to help guide the official mowers to cut the grass/wildflowers correctly. We will also put up a sign explaining what we have done so everyone can see how well or badly this is doing.
For those who are interested in the details;
seeds purchased from https://www.naturescape.co.uk/
“N5F long season meadow mix”
|Latin Name||English Name||Mix Composition|
|Centaurea nigra||Common Knapweed||5%|
|Centaurea scabiosa||Greater Knapweed||3%|
|Daucus carota||Wild Carrot||5%|
|Echium vulgare||Viper’s Bugloss||2%|
|Galium verum||Lady’s Bedstraw||6%|
|Geranium pratense||Meadow Cranesbill||2%|
|Hypochaeris radicata||Common Catsear||2%|
|Knautia arvensis||Field Scabious||3.5%|
|Lathyrus pratensis||Meadow Vetchling||2%|
|Leontodon hispidus||Rough Hawkbit||2%|
|Leucanthemum vulgare||Oxeye Daisy||5%|
|Linaria vulgaris||Common Toadflax||1%|
|Lotus corniculatus||Birdsfoot Trefoil||4%|
|Malva moschata||Musk Mallow||3%|
|Plantago media||Hoary Plantain||2.5%|
|Prunella vulgaris||Self Heal||7%|
|Ranunculus acris||Meadow Buttercup||5%|
|Ranunculus bulbosus||Bulbous Buttercup||5%|
|Rhinanthus minor||Yellow Rattle||6%|
|Rumex acetosa||Common Sorrel||5%|
|Scabiosa columbaria||Small Scabious||3%|
|Silene dioica||Red Campion||4%|
|Succisa pratensis||Devilsbit Scabious||2%|
|Trifolium pratense||Wild Red Clover||2.5%|
|Verbascum nigrum||Dark Mullein||1.5%|
|Vicia cracca||Tufted Vetch||2%|
|29 Wildflower species||100%|