Despite a cold spring the flowers are now in full bloom around the park and looking wonderful. Some have already gone over while others are on the cusp of bursting forth, a trait of nature which ensures that plants take advantage of the right conditions. A comment at our recent AGM has prompted me to post about seasonality and natural conditions and the way we are working within this to enhance the natural beauty of the park rather than turn it into a manicured, controlled space such as you would get in most urban towns.
The carpet of bluebells in the woodland area has been wonderful but as the canopy closes over and light reduces, these plants know they’ve had their time. Within the areas of open grassland, however, which get full sunlight, plants can continue to thrive much later in the year. The number of wild flowers throughout the park is increasing year on year, largely due to the few but nonetheless effective grass cuts we have managed to organise over the last few years.
Plants have a fantastic ability to wait until the conditions become more suitable to them, remaining in the seedbed below ground, then emerging and taking advantage of the new conditions. So all the species we are now seeing around the park have just been biding their time.
The flowers near the sheep fold entrance are largely spring flowers. This is because the tree canopy closes over in this area and reduces the light, making it harder for plants to flower later in the year.
Flowers which thrive in these kinds of conditions have been encouraged here. The most successful are those that flower early, such as daffodils, bluebells, snow drops, primroses, wild strawberry, greater stichwort and red campion.
This area has been enhanced with planting but using mostly native plants which are found locally. The canopy is now closing over, however and many of these plants are slowing down. There are a few more waiting in the wings however, including foxgloves and geraniums which will hopefully keep some colour in this area for a little longer.
Look out for carpets of red common sorrel below the bottom copse, the delicate white pignut within the grasses and the array of wildflowers emerging in the area just above the Bellway estate. Now that summer is approaching, more and more plants are emerging and basking in the sunshine. The park is thriving and benefiting so many insects and other animals – I hope it is benefiting a lot of people too!