Rummaging in the meadow for signs of spring…

Hi fellow meadow fans, I thought it time to break the winter silence. Beautiful day here in East Sussex, so on my hands and knees rummaging in the meadow looking for spring. Found it too!! Early Purple Orchid is just showing its dramatic and characteristic bold dark blotches (above)

Betony is getting away looks quite forward for what is one of the later joys in the meadow...

Even found tiny little Cowslip plants struggling through... Yellow Rattle should be here soon

So that’s it, someone fired the starting pistol… the next weeks will see me in the usual meadowmans stoop... strange to say but those of you with - or interested in - meadows will know exactly what I mean. It’s not possible to walk through a meadow for the weeks ahead unless stooped down, hands behind your back studying at each step, looking for that abundant variety of plants. What’s ahead? where’s the Twayblades (these are the devils own job to spot until you get your eye in), will it be an Oxeye year? It’s just such fun and every year different from the last or indeed the next.

Nature has its way and in its own time, don’t miss a moment, the changes are subtle but intriguing. Get it all in your diary, make a species list, add in the timing you spot each species. Add in the bees, butterflies, Grasshoppers everything that you see. Have fun, keep that record, read it in the depths of winter to bring your meadow back to life when you need a boost from the winter blues.

- Keith Datchler OBE, Coronation Meadows technical advisor