Creating a Wild Flower Meadow in Rectory Park
Last year, around September 2010, the Friends of Rectory Park embarked on re-establishing a Wild Flower Meadow, in the South Eastern area of the park, beyond the Sutton United Football Club’s first team pitch and behind the gardens in Rectory Park Avenue.
However, before any meadow could be considered it was necessary to establish the type of grass and nutrient levels of the soil as wild flowers will not flourish where the nutrient level is high. So the Friends purchased a soil analytical testing kit and armed with spades they lifted the turf from a cross section of the meadow, North to South and East to West, collecting a number of soil samples from the areas below the lifted turf.
Back in the 'Lab' (Jack Jennings Kitchen), the soil samples were observed as being light and sandy and the average acidity showed a pH of 6.4. Test for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium showed they were all classified as low.
Preparing the Meadow
In September 10, we were advised by the Park’s Management that they would arrange for Glendale to cut the grasses and collect as much as their bailer would allow, with the Friends armed with rakes removing the remaining cut material.
Expert opinion was sought regarding the type of grass growing in our meadow area and we were advised that it was fescue grass and that we should purchase some yellow rattle seeds as this plant is a parasite of the fescue grass and would help to reduce the grass density, which in turn would allow wild flowers to flourish much more easily.
Measuring the Meadow Area.
Armed with laser binoculars the Friends measured the meadow area and it was found to be 2,200 square meters.
Yellow Rattle Seeds
The Friends initially purchased, from Naturescape, 2 kilos of yellow rattle seeds in the November, which was sown at the rate of 1 gram per square meter although the recommendation vary between 2 and 4 grams per square meter. So an extra one kilo was purchased in December and sown after a heavy fall of snow, with half being sown on the lower area of the meadow and the remainder on the adjoining area, now referred to as Meadow No.2. Fortunately Yellow Rattle requires to be subjected to frost and cold weather conditions, which we had and the result were marvellous.
The Park’s Management arranged for the meadow grass to be cut and the material to be removed. The Friends removed the dead grass that the bailer had left behind.
Article by Peter Bell, Friend of Rectory Park