Here at Bodnant Garden we are developing a Grassland Management Plan to take care of all of our 80 acres, from the formal areas of the Italianate Terraces to the meadows of the Shrub Borders and even areas of rough grass in the car park. It’s part of our long term aim to protect the wildlife so dependent on grasslands and so under threat from their decline in recent years.
We have lost 99% of our flower-rich hay meadows in Wales in the last 60 years. The knock on effect is a massive decline in butterflies and bees, which has big implications for the pollination of our crops and gardens.
We’re doing our bit by limiting use of chemicals, letting grass grow long where we can and practising traditional, low level maintenance on our three meadows, The Old Park, Cae Poeth and Furnace Field. This involves cutting grass and removing hay in August, steering clear of feeds and herbicides, grazing in the autumn, monitoring the wildlife species present, mechanically removing invasive species such as bracken, thistles, docks and nettles – and just as importantly, extending access so people can enjoy these areas.
Here’s a flavour of what the grassland management project is about:
In 2015 we also experimented sowing an annual wildflower mix on an empty bed on the Canal Terrace. See how successful it was here: