As you will remember, last autumn a group of volunteers cut the grass on the north bank of the churchyard and a number of wildflower seeds were sown. The seeds purchased were chosen for either their ability to reduce the strength of the grass or to prosper in the tricky conditions – heavy clay soil, shade in the winter.
We are pleased to say that many of the yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) seeds have germinated. This is vital in establishing a wildflower area because as their roots develop they seek out the roots of plants growing nearby, especially grasses. Once contact is made the yellow rattle draws water and nutrients from them, suppressing the growth of grasses by as much as 60%. In the resulting space, other wildflowers have room to grow. We hope that this will not only look attractive but will increase the biodiversity in the churchyard which already supports a fantastic array of different species. We know that yellow rattle flowers are pollinated by large bees, especially bumblebees, and are followed by large seed pods.
Traditionally, farmers used the sound of the seeds rattling in the seed pods to know when to cut their hay, so we will cut the bank again in the late summer. If you would like to be involved in this project or other environmental projects at the church please contact Debra Thatcher.