OiB has been in the business of starting wildflower meadows and planting wildflowers since 2013. During that time we have snuck wildflowers into more ornate displays, nudged them into carpark tree planting areas and helped schools and other organisations to realise their own wildflower meadow ambitions. Read about our activities here.
2020 The BT Garden
At the start of 2020 (the Covid-19 year) 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 them 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 more details see the 5th November 2020 post.
Febuary 2021 update
After a snowy cold winter we have monitored the turned turf to see how it is developing. Certainly we have some non-grass plants growing and we have a sign to explain to passers-by and any mowers what we were trying to do with the space.
2013 The Whartons School
A couple of members of the group have again been back to The Whartons School where, through recent talks with the school and Friends of the Earth, it was decided that they would like to create two wildflower meadows within the school grounds. Over the past few months a plan was drawn up, seeds acquired and the land prepared. Finally today some of the children from the school enjoyed a sunny session of sowing the seeds and stamping the ground to settle them in, assisted by our members. Otley in Bloom shared the costs of the groundworks with the school PTA and will continue to monitor the site.
If you want to read about wildflower meadows in greater depth we can recommend Plantlife, though you might also find Addingham Environmental Group interesting as they are a local group with a lot of experience.
This page is linked by QR code from the board in the BT Garden.