About 10 years ago when the word ‘biodiversity’ was beginning to be talked about in earnest, we began to develop our meadows here at Rosemoor. These were created in areas of grassland, which until then had been mown regularly through the summer months so had did little to increase the flora and fauna within the garden.
We established our meadows during the autumn with the help of yellow rattle - which reduced the vigour of the strong meadow grass. We also planted plugs, raised on our nursery, of species that thrive in our Devon clay soil; greater knapweed, oxeye daisy, betony, birds foot trefoil, selfheal, hawksbit and ragged robin.
I now look at the areas with amazement; they have added enormously to our summer landscape and increased the range of insects. This year they have gone one step further; in one of our dampest meadows we have a flush of southern marsh orchid - none of which were planted by us. I must've counted 150 flower spikes in an area of about 50 square metres. To me that is is magic and one of the highlights of my horticultural career; here at the gardens we have given Mother Nature the opportunity to flourish.