Celebrating our meadows at Bodnant Garden
We look after three wildflower grasslands at Bodnant Garden, doing our bit to halt the decline in meadows nationwide. So we’re buzzing about joining the Great British Bee Count in May and June, and National Meadows Day in July when we’re throwing our first Beefest...
Today in the UK there remains only 3% of the meadows which existed in the 1930s – that’s a loss of 7.5 million acres of wildflower grassland. Many iconic meadow flowers such as Ragged Robin, Harebell and Field Scabious are now on a watch list, threatening the wildlife which depend upon them, including bees which play a key role in pollinating our plants.
Here at Bodnant Garden we’ve developed a grassland management plan for our meadows which involves low level, traditional annual maintenance such as cutting grass and removing the hay in August, grazing the land with sheep in the autumn, also collecting and sowing the seeds such as Yellow Rattle to encourage wildflowers. Just as importantly, we’ve been extending access so visitors can enjoy them; the Old Park was opened to the public in 2012, Furnace Meadow opened in 2017 and Cae Poeth Meadow will open in 2019.
Summer activities 2018
This summer we’re joining Friends of the Earth for the Great British Bee Count, a national survey from 17 May to 30 June. This is a self-led activity – just pick up a survey sheet at reception and fill in the number and species of bees you spot while you stroll.
We're also celebrating National Meadows Day at Bodnant Garden on Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8 when we’ll be joined by members of the National Beekeeping Centre of Wales in the Old Park and the Old Mill in the Dell. There will be talks and demonstrations, hives for visitors to look at and bee suits to try on, activities such as honey tasting, beeswax candle rolling, Bee Bingo and children’s crafts (making bees from pine cones and wool) and wildflower seed bomb making. Events take place from 11am to 4pm and are free (normal garden admission applies).
Events officer Charlie Stretton says: “Join us for the Great British Bee Count, for our Beefest, or just come along this summer take a summer stroll and experience first-hand the wonder of a flower-rich meadow - kick off your shoes and go barefoot! Pick up one of our wildflower checklists to do your own nature trail.”
National Meadows Day is part of the Save Our Magnificent Meadows campaign led by the conservation body Plantlife. National Trust Wales is a leading partner in the campaign and events are taking place at NT meadows around the country. For more information about events near you, go to http://www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk