Seed from the Origin Amenity Solutions (OAS) Euroflor range has transformed three meadow areas within Worth Park, as part of a wider conservation project underway by Crawley Borough Council. With the aim of increasing plant diversity and providing all-important habitat and food for pollinators, the wildflowers were introduced by Head Gardener Stephen Peters using OAS’s biodegradable FloraFleece – helping to deliver maximum visual and ecological benefit, with minimal impact on the environment.
Worth Park Conservation Garden sits within 8.5 hectares of green space which has undergone a complete restoration over the last few years, making it an important community and destination venue for residents and visitors to Crawley. “The objective of the wildflower project was to provide an essential food source (nectar) for pollinators and demonstrate that making a healthier ecosystem that benefits both humans and wildlife need not be complicated or involve intensive preparations with harmful chemicals that we traditionally see” explains Stephen, who is also Horticulture Advisor to Crawley’s Tilgate and Goff Parks.
“Together with my Horticulture Apprentice Tom, we prepared three areas using the FloraFleece from OAS.” The FloraFleece is composed of 50% jute, 25% cotton, 25% brown wool and hessian scrim that acts to suppress weeds and provide an ideal seed bed for wildflowers, before biodegrading naturally over the next seven or eight months. “We just had to roll the matting out, lay three or four inches of soil over the top and sow the seed – all of which was complete in a day.”
Stephen continues, “Following many visits and conversations about the project, Mike Ring from Origin Amenity came in with a catalogue and together we opted for the Euroflor Discovery box. I really liked this option because it incorporated a range of Euroflor mixtures which would give us annuals, bi-annuals and perennials for a rich source of nectar for our pollinators and wildlife, along with maximum colour and plant diversity. These were sown in mid-March and we started to see growth in approximately six weeks.”
“The results were nothing short of beautiful. We had people taking photographs, sharing feedback on social media and we even had a local artist in her 90’s paint one of the wildflower meadows, the end result now proudly hanging in the community room of Ridley’s Court. Importantly, we have also noted a big increase in the number of pollinators we’ve seen so the project did its job and more!”
Once the flowering period was over, the meadows were harvested down to four inches with the trimmings left in piles before being passed through a small shredder. “We scattered the shredded material back over the plots and found that where the seed had been chipped through the shredding process, we saw the emergence of young seedlings growing again in less than two weeks.”
He concludes, “This project has demonstrated what can be achieved if we all look to ‘recycle, reuse, reseed and rejuvenate’. We couldn’t have hoped for a more successful trial and our aim now is to build on this with the help of OAS, to create new wildflower areas in some of the other parks under my remit.”