26 June 2013

Urban Meadow

Cat's-ear and Hybrid Marsh-orchid
Our urban Gorseinon garden has a variety of mini habitats, but our side lawn is the nearest to being semi-natural. With the exception of planting a giant Pampas grass in the middle of it (which now we wish we hadn’t), we’ve done nothing to it other than mow it and remove the clippings. Last year we noticed a few orchid shoots and around 6 flowered. This year I marked all the shoots I could find in May and cut around them and left the 6m2 orchid patch to flower. A total 32 orchids were found and today I recorded the composition of the sward, the resulting species list below ordered from most abundant to scarce:
Cat's-ear (Hypochaeris radicata)
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)
Springy Turf-moss (Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus)
Field Wood-rush (Luzula campestris)
Hybrid Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza x grandis)
Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
Sweet Vernal-grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Common Mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum)
Common Smoothcap (Atrichum undulatum)
Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
Crested Dog's-tail (Cynosurus cristatus)
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
Fox-and-cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)
Ivy (Hedera helix agg.)

The patch was buzzing with insects this afternoon and interestingly the Cat’s-ear is what proved to be the most attractive flower, the orchids being largely ignored. If you have a patch with Cat’s-ear as a troublesome lawn weed, consider leaving some to flower - the invertebrates will thank you.
The full extent of the orchid-patch

1 comment:

Adam mantell said...

That is a perfect illustration of why I get so annoyed by the Council mowing road verges to within 2 inches of the ground every four weeks!