Smart mowing will create a corridor for small creatures

Wild flowers in the Community Orchard in The Byes

Wild flowers in the Community Orchard in The Byes - Credit: Steve Jones

How many flowers grow in an English summer meadow? Dr Dines of Plantlife calculates that there are 2.3 million flowers in an acre of wildflower meadow and that provides enough nectar to keep 83,000 bees alive. 

This is important for The Friends of the Byes in looking after the Community Orchard for we are friends of the wild flowers that grow in the orchard, friends of the bees and butterflies that get life from the flowers and friends of the children and grownups who come to enjoy, play or rest with nature. And we are friends of the National Trust who own the land and have entrusted us to put their dreams into practice. The National Trust says that nature has been squeezed to the margins for too long, and they are setting up 25,000 hectares of new wildlife habitats.

You will notice that we are leaving a strip of meadow at the top of the orchard to be a wild home and corridor for small creatures. Elsewhere we are mowing paths and picnic areas to make it easy for humans to enjoy the orchard but doing it in a way that still allows flowers to bloom. The remaining parts of the orchard were not mowed until May was over so that the spring flowers could bloom and set seed. We are now smart mowing to keep the area accessible but also full of flowers. We started surveying the areas of the orchard at the end of May and are continuing for each month after. If we find a place where no flowers grow then we will have got it wrong and will change what we do to put it right.

The Friends of the Byes welcome wildlife and humans to the Community Orchard to be together as friends. We will do what we can to make it a good place for all living creatures to be happy together. The one thing we cannot manage is the weather, so rain and snow may be a problem. The motto of the orchard could be the inscription in the garden at Earlshall in Scotland: ‘Here you find no enemies but summer storm and winter freeze’.

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