Back in September 2013 we were excited to be finally sowing our new wildflower area at our office in Cambridgeshire. The 250 metre long strip borders an arable field right outside our office window and is made up of three 4 metre wide strips. To recap, the strip nearest the crop is a stewardship grass mix which includes cocksfoot, timothy and fescues, among others; the middle strip is a grass free pollen and nectar mix which includes species such as alsike clover, common vetch, phacelia, red campion; and the outside strip is a wildflower mix including species such as corn marigold, birdsfoot trefoil; black knapweed, yarrow and yellow rattle. The seed was kindly provided by Kings Crops.
It’s been interesting watching the plants emerge. The field is on a slope and as one would expect, the lusher growth has been towards the bottom of the slope where more moisture is retained, whereas the plants top of the slope have been slower to emerge. As the soils in this area are heavy the blackgrass burden has been high. We have chosen to manage this by topping the strips at strategic intervals. Topping will reduce the amount of viable blackgrass seed returning to the soil and will open up the sward, giving the wildflowers some space to flourish and out-compete the unwanted grass species.
More updates to follow!