Flanders Moss NNR
The wildflower meadow at the Flanders Moss car park has been looking good this summer. Or at least until the fierce sun and lack of rain caused it to brown off a bit.
The meadow have been developed over the last 3 years following the landscaping of the car park and it acts as an attractive welcome to the reserve but there is much more to it than just that.
Firstly, the mix of wildflowers is the same as would have been found historically on the hay meadows all around Flanders. A 100 years ago there would have been hundreds of flower filled meadows but through agricultural intensification the flowers have been lost from them.
This loss of habitats, and other factors like pesticide use and climate change, have reduced populations of pollinators such as like bees and hoverflies and these are important insects having crucial roles in farming and food industries. So every chance to restore a small area of habitat for these attractive insects should be taken.
This summer has seen good numbers of honey bees, bumble bees, hoverflies and butterflies using the various wildflowers that are starting to appear.
And most exciting of all was the appearance of the rare day flying moth, the beautiful Argent and Sable, making use of the buttercups, a real seal of approval for all of the work put in by volunteers and staff alike.
The meadow at Flanders have been developed through planting a mixture of wildflower plugs but also through collecting seed from wildflower species such as knapweed, meadow vetchling and yellow rattle from sites nearby. In line with the traditional way of management the meadow will be cut in the autumn to remove the vegetation layer and open up gaps for seeds to germinate.
Below are some of the pollinators helping themselves.