Tuesday, 28 April 2015

28. Cowslips

The first wave of summer colour has washed over the meadows.
A sea of cowslips in Little Meadow
It is the vibrant pale yellow of cowslips and I am thrilled to see them. Cowslips are one of our lovely meadow flowers that have been in sharp decline due to modern farming practices. When nitrogen is added to a  meadow the grasses grow vigorously, the flowers cannot compete and a bio-diverse tapestry of colour is changed into a uniform green.

In our meadows we are doing the reverse and the cowslips are spreading and thriving. We actively reduce the fertility of the soil to encourage the wild flowers. In Little Meadow and parts of Esker Meadow we removed some topsoil with a digger, and every autumn  the meadow is mowed and the cuttings removed. It is working, and that is why I am so happy to see the cowslips. Ten years ago we planted one handful of seed saved from my home garden, and now they are popping up everywhere, bringing delight to the eyes and adding to the biodiversity. Welcome, cowslips!

Cowslips and plum blossom in the meadow area of the Imbolc Garden

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