Charlecote's wildflowers project

Enjoy the wild flowers when you stroll through the meadow at Charlecote Park

In 2015 the funds raised from the sale of raffle tickets the previous year were used to buy thousands of wildflower plug plants.

In 2015 the raffle ticket funds raised the previous year were used to buy thousands of wildflower plug plants.

In the past the meadow has been seeded with a wildflower mix, but winter flooding in the parkland washed away the seeds before they could germinate.

Although much more expensive, it was decided that small plug plants would get their roots down in warm summer soil and be ready for whatever next winter had in store. Eventually these would flower and their seeds would spread naturally, germinating exactly when conditions were right and not when we had time to scatter them.

Look out for the iridescent Common Blue butterfly darting quickly from flower to flower
The iridescent common blue butterfly is a delight at Charlecote Park
Look out for the iridescent Common Blue butterfly darting quickly from flower to flower

We wanted to ensure that we were introducing flowers and grasses that would have been grown in a meadow like this for centuries, and that they would benefit dozens of different insects including species of bees and butterflies.

The Meadow Brown butterflies will often fly even on a dull day in the gardens
Meadow brown butterfly on aster in gardens at Charlecote Park
The Meadow Brown butterflies will often fly even on a dull day in the gardens

Having cleared a large square of ground in Places Meadow it was time for staff and volunteers (fuelled by tea and plenty of cake) to get planting around 2,500 plug plants. Our work aroused the interest of BBC’s Countryfile and Matt Baker came along to film a piece for the programme in May.

Stroll through sunshine as the buttercups come into flower in Places Meadow
Buttercups in flower in Places Meadow at Charlecote Park
Stroll through sunshine as the buttercups come into flower in Places Meadow

We established a butterfly monitoring group this year, working with the British Butterfly Trust, to survey all the butterfly species in the parkland and gardens.

We also brought in green hay from a nearby Warwickshire Wildlife Trust SSSI. Spreading this around enabled the seeds from the grasses in the hay to fall naturally in the parkland, ready to germinate.

Later in the year we planted another square of 3,500 plants, and this work will not continue every year in different areas of the parkland.