The Queen’s Meadow in bloom

In September last year, the 90th new Coronation Meadow was created in London’s Green Park, named the Queen’s Meadow.  Earlier this month, a small group from Plantlife, trustees, members and staff, went to see the meadow.  We wanted to check progress, see what was in bloom or setting seed and identify as many species as possible.  The gang had varied botanical skills.  A couple of volunteers had spent a fair amount of time as field biologists earlier in their careers and were really pleased to get out of the office and start botanising again.  We only looked at a sample of the area, probably less than a quarter of the meadow.  Here’s what we found:

Creeping buttercup, red clover, white clover, oxeye daisy, ribwort plantain, germander speedwell, cut-leaved crane’s-bill, goat’s-beard, spear thistle, yellow rattle, creeping thistle, wild carrot, yarrow, common poppy, cornflower, mallow sp, cock’s-foot, crested dog’s-tail, meadow fescue, false oat-grass, perennial ryegrass, sweet vernal grass, timothy, Yorkshire fog.  Some of these, like common poppy, are plants of arable land and may well have been in the Green Park soil for some time, spurred into germinating by the disturbance to the ground.  A lot of yellow rattle seed was included in the original mix. A quick count of yellow rattle seed heads in one square metre sample plot got to over 250.

Plantlife’s Great British Wildflower Hunt is running this summer, making it really easy for people to notice what’s in flower around them and record what they see.  One of the Wildflower Hunt records comes from Green Park, closer to Green park tube than the Queen’s Meadow.  These Wildflower Hunters found just three species, creeping buttercup, daisy and white clover.  It’s clear that Coronation Meadows is bringing much more diversity to central London for many people to enjoy.

There is a bit too much grass in places but the yellow rattle has taken well and will reduce the grass in the future. As is the nature of meadow creation, it will take a few years for it to settle down and establish but overall we are pleased with the first season.   The Royal Parks will cut the meadow very soon and we’ll all have to wait patiently to see how it looks next spring.

Michael Krause, Plantlife