All about our Wildflower Meadow and how it contributes to supporting surrounding wildlifePosted on Jun 25, 2019
Lemore’s Wildflower Meadow
Did you know that whilst most of our gardens are manicured and pristine, we have two acres of wild flower meadows that we have created? Five years ago Ben & Margaret made it one of their missions to support wild life, insects and plants in a natural habitat, by creating wild flower meadows. When strolling round the grounds on Sunday, they discovered that we have Lady Orchids growing in these meadows! The Lady Orchid is now listed as an ‘endangered’ plant and very rare in the UK, so we are fortunate to have these elegant and rare species growing at Lemore. They will only grow and develop in natural habitats without fertiliser. Another special treat in the heart of Herefordshire!
This conservation site, is just one of the many areas Ben and Margaret are working on, towards making us a more Green and Sustainable venue.
How wildflowers help nurture the environment and support wildlife
Wildflower meadows provide shelter and food for important pollinators including bees, which play a vital part in our ecosystem. There has been a decline in wildflower meadows in the UK, contributed by land being developed for property and change in farming methods. With more competition for food sources and a reduction in pollens, we are inevitably seeing the bee population decrease.
90% of plants rely on insects such as bees, butterflies, hover flies and moths to carry pollen from one flower to another. The plants provide a food source for the insects and in return, insects reproduce through pollination.
Wildflowers can also provide shelter and places to breed for small species and during the winter when there is less food available, wildflower seeds can also be an important food source for birds and small mammals.
The meadow can also be very helpful in keeping the soil healthy. When roots of wildflowers spread, it helps stabilise the surrounding soil. Therefore, when there is heavy rainfall, it helps prevent nutrients being washed away into local water systems. When soil nutrients get into water systems, algae can spread and can make the water toxic to marine animals.
First signs of Lady Orchids (Orchis Purpurea) and lots of Lesser Knapweed (Centaurea Nigra)
Lady Orchids are an elegant, herbaceous plant belonging to the orchidaceae plant family. We are astounded (and absolutely thrilled) that this rare plant has made it’s first appearance in our meadow this year. Ben has purposely left the meadow to develop naturally over the past 5 years, as these type of plants do not grow in fertilised or highly groomed areas of grassland. The Lady Orchid is now listed as ‘endangered’ and is primarily found in Southern England, North Africa and Turkey, so we are very fortunate to have these in our meadow here at Lemore.
Common or lesser Knapweed (Centaurea Nigra) is one of the toughest meadow plants and arguably the best in terms of its wildlife value. These thistle like, vibrant-purple plants provide a gorgeous burst of colour and attract bees and butterflies. As well as supporting our bees, butterflies and beetles it’s seeds provide food for many birds.
The perfect backdrop
Along with the numerous other benefits to having a wildflower meadow, the bursts of beautiful colour make it rather beautiful to look at too. With so many spectacular events and weddings held at the Manor, we are conscious of areas which will create an amazing backdrop for your photographs. From the first flowers of spring to misty autumn days, wildflower meadows make for a rather scenic stroll.