The Meadow at Stream House or ‘Here come the Girls’..

The Meadows are just exploding with excitement and colour. I have to draw attention to the superstars, the divas of the field stage “Orchids”. They just cannot be ignored.

Lets take them in order of appearance. I give you the one and only, and for a short yet dazzling performance at the beginning of the season, Miss “Early Purple”!!!! Here she is, the big and blousy Mamma in her purple chiffon-like gown, the “Joan Collins” not-to-be-missed superstar of any spring field.
The stage is set.

While the last act of Miss Collins is still waving in the breeze to her grass fans, taking her bow, the next star to walk out onto the Green Meadow Carpet is the delicate and sultry “Green Winged”. Fine-featured, less dressy, slender, but such a beauty. “Keira Knightly” perhaps? Great performer, no spotty petticoat to spring from yet such style and presence. When this little orchid first appears at a field near you don’t miss her.

Now for something very special, an almost mystical experience that takes some seeking out. Look very carefully, almost unseen against the floral stage backdrop of June's early meadow, “Twayblade”. When I find this orchid it never fails to send shivers of absolute delight through me. Here is Avatar's “Neytiri” a spellbinding plant unlike any other. I’m privileged to have its ghostly eerie appearance in the cast, acting out summer in the meadow behind my house.

It's now the last week of June, all the players are assembled. The great chorus of hawkbits, ox eye daisies sweeping from left to right, backing provided by the joyous legumes, bird's-foot trefoil, lesser trefoil, clovers red and white, delicate little stitchwort laced into the sub context, powerful performances from dyer's green plant, Grasses of all kinds swaying in unison,  ruby jewels of grass vetchling here and there, the growing applause of yellow rattle. The picture is completed when the brassy character of “Common Spotted” struts on stage. Usually the first orchid to arrive in a restoration sticking its laughing head up. A “Barbara Windsor” of a plant, a plant with elbows!! Let me in.. and if you'll have me there’s no limit or rationale to the performance, dozens or even hundreds will thrive, performing for weeks.

The Meadow year is at full pitch. All these plants together with the insect extras, birds and mammals, live in the little meadow here at Stream House to the delight of visitors, family and not least me. Four years ago it was a field like so many others, void of diversity. I have worked at it harvesting seed heads, weeding out the thistles, docks and nettles. It is a labour of love well worth pursuing, the returns are many fold. Stick with it fellow meadow makers and enjoy the rest of the show. 

- Keith Datchler OBE, Coronation Meadows Technical Advisor