Lou and I were joined by 4 volunteers who helped us carry out our first meadow cut of St Peter’s Way, a meadow which the community helped create back in April this year. We have extended the meadow slightly using the hay cut today. The rest of the green hay was removed and taken to Filham Park. At Filham we also carried out a cut and rake of the meadows we started in April, adding to the seed we sowed earlier in the year. As some seeds need a frost, we should see an increase in plant bio-diversity next spring. We also found a couple of frogs in the long grass, showing the importance of leaving more space for nature and that it really works.
The cutting and collecting of green hay is an excellent way to increase a wildflower meadow without having to buy any additional seed. When cutting the hay, we use a brush cutter, so rather than smashing with a strimmer or a mower, the meadow can be cut and collected in a more traditional way. Spreading the hay, which is still rich in seeds, over the meadows at St Peter’s Way and Filham Park will allow this seed to disperse as the hay dries out. In a couple of week we will return and rake off the green hay, as we only want the seed and not the nutrient enrichment from the grass.
Unfortunately we have no volunteering next week, but we will be back with bulb planting and wildflower meadow management on the 14th October, site to be confirmed.
Andrew – Parks Ranger