Wildflowers in BT’s garden

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 NameEnglish NameMix Composition
Achillea millefoliumYarrow3%
Centaurea nigraCommon Knapweed5%
Centaurea scabiosaGreater Knapweed3%
Daucus carotaWild Carrot5%
Echium vulgareViper’s Bugloss2%
Galium verumLady’s Bedstraw6%
Geranium pratenseMeadow Cranesbill2%
Hypochaeris radicataCommon Catsear2%
Knautia arvensisField Scabious3.5%
Lathyrus pratensisMeadow Vetchling2%
Leontodon hispidusRough Hawkbit2%
Leucanthemum vulgareOxeye Daisy5%
Linaria vulgarisCommon Toadflax1%
Lotus corniculatusBirdsfoot Trefoil4%
Malva moschataMusk Mallow3%
Plantago mediaHoary Plantain2.5%
Primula verisCowslip3%
Prunella vulgarisSelf Heal7%
Ranunculus acrisMeadow Buttercup5%
Ranunculus bulbosusBulbous Buttercup5%
Rhinanthus minorYellow Rattle6%
Rumex acetosaCommon Sorrel5%
Scabiosa columbariaSmall Scabious3%
Silene dioicaRed Campion4%
Stachys officinalisBetony3%
Succisa pratensisDevilsbit Scabious2%
Trifolium pratenseWild Red Clover2.5%
Verbascum nigrumDark Mullein1.5%
Vicia craccaTufted Vetch2%
   
29 Wildflower species 100%

Mass snowdrop planting 20th September

Mass Snowdrop Planting

to commemorate World War 1

Sunday 20th September at 10am, meet at The Buttercross

This September Otley in Bloom will be working with schools, community groups and other interested parties to plant snowdrops to mark the centenary of the First World War. 5000 bulbs will be planted across the town in key locations to mark this important anniversary.

Why snowdrops?

Snowdrops have been chosen as they are a symbol of peace and hope, and a link to the white war graves. They are also an early source of nectar for bees. The snowdrops will flower in spring 2016, creating larger clumps every year from then on to create a lasting legacy.

If you would like to be involved, or can think of a good place to plant some snowdrops, let us know….

www.otleyinbloom.co.uk or call 01943 462390

Snowdrops and War – Some Facts

There is also a connection with the Crimean War. Unlike the poppy’s association with the blood spilt in the First World War, the purity of the snowdrop enchanted the soldiers bogged down in Crimea (1853-1856). The flowers heralded spring on the battlefield. Many survivors brought the bulbs back to plant in their gardens.

Snowdrops contain their own anti-freeze. They were harvested during the First World War to make anti-freeze for tanks.

On a sunny day, snowdrops are highly scented and give off a honey smell. If you have enough plants the perfume will fill the garden.

Summer town centre planting session

Summer Town Centre Planting Session

Sunday 17th May at 10am

 meet at The Garden School, 9 Westgate

Would you like to help prepare Otley for Summer?

Do you like planting up containers?

Do you fancy spending a morning with like-minded people?

Join us for this event.  Some of the work will be done around town, and some of the work will be done inside (so it’s safe if you want to bring children – they can get involved too).

For more details call 01943 462390.

Daffodil planting on Newall Carr Bank

On the morning of Tuesday 3rd December Jacquie, Ian, Ernie, David Pearce and David Bellerby planted daffodil bulbs in Otley.

Assisted by members of The Rotary of Otley Chevin and a Clifton resident 3 bags of bulbs were planted on Newall Carr Bank – on the right hand side going up the hill. The idea is to join up with the daffodils previously planted by residents of Clifton. It was an enjoyable morning and the weather was perfect for planting.