FoEP: Improving the Park for the benefit of the whole community
The Created 'Meadow' ....
The ‘meadow’ created in front of the north-facing fence separating Eastfield Park from Eleonore House did not develop exactly as anticipated. This was mainly due to the poor germination and growth of meadow plants early in the season when the weather was unseasonably dry and the clay soil hard and difficult to penetrate. The plants that did eventually grow seem to consist of four types: first, plants that were not in the seed mix but which self-seeded from plants in the wildflower border created along the fence in 2015; second, plants that were not in the seed mix but which have good powers of dispersal and rapidly colonised the bare ground; third, plants that occur naturally in the Park’s grassland and either survived the poisoning or else rapidly colonised the exposed area; and lastly, plants that grew from the meadow seeds scattered on the area in April. The dense growth of chicory undoubtedly belongs to the first category and greater willowherb to the second, but several of the recorded species (such as common knapweed and yarrow) occur naturally in the Park and were present in the meadow mix, so could belong to either the third or the fourth group. Many of the species supplied in the mix (such as meadow cranesbill, Geranium pratense) have not yet been recorded in the meadow but may well appear next year (Dove-leaved Cranesbill, Geranium molle, was found but is probably one of the plants that spread from the wildflower border).
Click on pictures for larger view with caption
The Eleonore House Insect-friendly Herbaceous Border ....
The insect-friendly border is complementary to the artificial 'meadow' described above. While the meadow is meant to contain native British wildflowers and grasses, the herbacoous border is intended for cultivated garden plants that are attractive to insects, particularly bees and butterflies. Some of the plants in the border are close relatives of wildflowers growing in the meadow. For example, Achillea 'Summer Pastels', a garden plant growing in the border, is a close relative of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) found in the 'meadow'.
Despite a certain degree of dis-appointment, the created meadow has provided a good habitat for for a range of animals especially insect pollinators. When the chicory was cut down to allow a better mix of plants to develop, one newt, three toads and innumerable frogs were disturbed.
The meadow creation is a long term project and the plan is to continue to micromanage it on an ad hoc basis, encouraging or adding desirable species and cutting back or removing less desirable ones. We hope to create a meadow-like habitat which is rich in species, attractive to look at and beneficial to a wide range of animal species especially insect pollinators.
Other News ....
10th August 2017
6th April 2017
7th June 2017
18th August 2017
We are grateful to Matt Johnson and Chris French from the local Wildlife Trust for identifying the plants in the artificial meadow as well as the two 2017 set-aside areas. A report of their findings and recommendations for 2018 has been written and can be downloaded by clicking here.
Achillea in Border & 'Meadow': 1: Achillea 'Summer Pastels' in Border, 2: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in 'meadow',
3: A colourful group of Achillea flowers inthe Border.
The Friends of Eastfield Park are grateful to Jo Stephens and Mary Hamilton from Daffodils Decluttering for taking care of the Eleonore House Border this year. Jo is leaving Northampton but Mary will be carrying on the good work.
The Eleonore House Insect-friendly Border
We had a number of unwelcome visitors to the Park in August! A group of Travellers used (or rather 'abused') the Park from 18th to 23rd August. Although trespass is not a criminal offence, they did criminal damage by breaking the lock to the barrier at the Booth Lane entrance. They also fly-tipped rubbish on the Park (not just their own garbage but building debris, presumably from work carried out in the local neighbourhood). They also used the spinneys as toilets leaving human excrement along pathways recently cleared by volunteers. Please, please do not employ such people; there are reliable local contractors who will do a much better job and not dump the waste in your local Park.
Just some of the rubbish left behind by Travellers