Flower Meadows

In 2012 and 2013 we planted flower meadows at multiple sites across Bristol, Leeds, Reading and Edinburgh in collaboration with local councils.  Parks, playing fields and school grounds have been transformed by the colour of the meadows, and you may well have spotted them in your local area. You can enjoy meadows in fifteen locations in each city in 2013 and some are continuing in 2014 and 2015.

We have sown two different types of flower meadow:

  1. Annual meadows  These will start to flower in June or July (depending on the weather conditions), so make sure to have a look and enjoy the flower spectacle unfolding.  These meadows flower for one season, and will need resowing every spring.
  2. Perennial meadows These meadows will flower from late May onwards and will last for several years.

To find your nearest meadow please click on the links below:

What is in the meadows?

Annual meadows

Due to limited availability of native annual species in commercial flower meadow mixes, we selected an annual mix that contains non-native species.  We used an off-the-shelf seed mix called Rainbow Annuals (supplied by Rigby Taylor).  We trialled this seed mix in 2012 with great results – it’s extremely attractive to both people and pollinators.  This mix has a longer flowering season than native annual mixes and we expect this to be beneficial for insect pollinators.  In fact, the Bristol meadows were still flowering well into November!  However, the aim of our experiment is to investigate the impacts of planting flowers on pollinator populations in urban areas, not to compare native and non-native meadow mixes.

Species commonly found in the Rainbow Annual mix include:

Alyssum white (Lobularia maritima)

Annual meadow at The City Academy Bristol Annual meadow at The City Academy Bristol

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

English poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Cosmidium

Cosmos

Californian poppy (Eschscholtzia californica)

Baby’s breath (Gypsophilia elegans)

Flowering flax (Linum grandiflorum)

Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Most species in the mix can easily be found in the garden centre, so you can create your own annual meadow for pollinators in your own garden. 

Perennial meadows

We are used the Special Pollen and Nectar Wild Flower mix (EN1F) available from Emorsgate Seeds.  This is a 100% wildflower mix containing native plant species that have been specially selected for pollinators.  Many of the species you will recognise from fields and hedgerows, and some varieties will be available in garden centres for you to create wildflower areas at home.

Species found in the Special Pollen and Nectar Wild Flower mix include:

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Common (black) knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

Perennial meadow in Leeds during 2012Perennial meadow in Leeds during 2012

Wild carrot (Daucus carota)

Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Birds foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Musk mallow (Malva moschata)

Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris)

Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor)

Red campion (Silene dioica)

Wild red clover (Trifolium pratense)

Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca)

Project partners

In this phase of the project we are working in partnership with Dr Duncan Westbury from the University of Worcester, Bristol City Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Reading Borough Council and Leeds City Council.

 

Project supporters

We are very grateful to Emorsgate for assistance with the perennial seed mix and to Rigby Taylor for assistance with the annual seed mix.

We are also grateful to the following companies who are supporting this part of the project: The Landscape Group, Quadron Services Limited, CPS Ground Limited.