A Meadow of Roses and a Meadow of Grasses and Wildflowers

A world filled with contrasts.

Imagine a meadow filled with roses! 

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Photo: By Gavin McWilliam

The Savill Garden is an enclosed part of  Windsor Great Park in England. The garden was created in the 1930s by Eric Savill and you find woodland, ornamental areas with a range of different gardens such as the New Zealand Garden, as well as a pond.

In 2011, a new contemporary rose garden was designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam. The garden can be described as a meadow of roses. The scent of 2, 500 different rose bushes is filling the air. A leisurely stroll through a perfumed meadow  on a warm summer’s day is surely one of the most delightful experiences in life.

The roses are planted in big bold drifts of deep plum and soft pinks, apricots and tangerine orange, and pale yellow and white. The roses are surrounded by yew hedges and drifts of ornamental grasses.

Imagine a meadow filled with grasses and wildflowers.

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Photo: Mark Robinson  Meadow flowers in a Dorset field.

Meadows are an intrinsic part of the UK’s natural heritage. Once upon a time, you would find natural wildflower meadows in every parish. Today, only around 2 percent of the meadows that were found in the UK in the 19302 remain. And many of the grasslands are not rich in species anymore. Wildflowers meadows are still being destroyed and threatened by urbanisation,  agricultural practices, invasive species and climate change.

Meadows support a range of wildlife apart from wildflowers, for example,  birds, bats, fungi, bees, flies, beetles, spiders, moths, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. Meadows that are rich in genetic diversity and species also store carbon and help with water retention to prevent flooding and they are also a habitat for crop pollinators. Losing the wild flowers means that we lose access to traits that could help to build resilience in our crops.

Meadows are also important for their beauty. Meadows filled with swaying cornfield flowers have inspired writers such as Constable and Shakespeare. And meadows continue to inspire poets, writers, and artists.

A wildflower meadow in your garden can offer an alternative to lawns and borders.You can create an annual meadow and this works well in rich soil. Perfect if you are converting an old border into a meadow. Perennials  thrive on poor soils and the grasses compete less with the wildflowers.

Sarah Raven is an English gardener, cook, writer and TV presenter, go here to read an article written by her about how to create a mini wildflower meadow. Happy planning and planting.

Happy planning and planting.

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Photo: Samuel John  Meadow

 

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