Cambridge Botanic Gardens: Meadows And Hedges: Go Wild!
|Author: Juliet Day, Development Officer||Published: 13th June 2012 18:01|
Centaurea CyanusAt the Botanic Garden we have a strong collection of British wild flowers, focused on the different ecological communities of Cambridgeshire.
The Fen Display demonstrates the transition in the vegetation from deep open water with waterlilies through reedbed and wet margins to woodland (fen carr). Opposite, the Limestone Mound, yellow and blue with rock roses and meadow cranesbill, demonstrates some of the huge array of British wild plants that can be found on chalk and limestone (calcareous) soils, conditions which predominate particularly in our Eastern region.
Close by, is the Cambridgeshire Hedgerow, modelled on a boundary hedge of the ancient Hayley Wood in west Cambridgeshire. One section was laid over this last winter, a technique that consists of cutting into stems of hawthorn and other woody species, bending them down and holding them in place with hazel stakes. This encourages a mass of new shoots to grow up from the stems giving a dense impenetrable base to the hedge, which increases its effectiveness as a barrier, and its desirability as a nesting site for birds. The flora is typical of old hedgerows of the area, including guelder rose, spindle, hazel, dogwood, with dog rose and bryony scrambling through. The hedge bottom flora is a species-rich habitat and includes bedstraw, wood avens, common knapweed and woundwort, and supports a wide array of insect and bird life.
We are also experimenting this summer with different wildflower meadows. To mark the Olympics, a field of gold meadow flowers will shine up at Station Road with some additional sunflowers self-sown from last year's display. Along the new curving path through the research plots we have broadcast sown a patriotic mix of red white and blue to fly the flag in flowers for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee! The mix features red flax, shirley poppy, red orache, bishops flower, baby's breath and cosmos with cornflower, larkspur and purple tansy. The elegant curved ground in front of Cory Lodge has been sown with a mix that has been carefully balanced for colour and succession of display, so do come and enjoy our meadow floras throughout the summer.
They should be looking stunning in time for our late ‘til 8pm openings every Wednesday this July, with Sounds Green cushions concerts courtesy of the Cambridge Summer Music Festival, starting at 6.15pm.
The Botanic Garden is open 10am - 6pm in April - September. Adult admission is £4.50 (Giftaid admission £4.95) or join the Friends, get free admission & help the Garden grow! For news and events, detailed information about the Garden or to discover this week's Plant Picks from the Head of Horticulture, please visit the website at http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/
© Juliet Day, Development Officer