City wildflower meadow at World Museum

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A cowslip growing in the city garden. A cowslip growing in the city wildflower meadow.

This week is National Gardening Week – the country’s biggest celebration of gardening.

During the last 14 months, we have been planting native wildflowers in front of World Museum. Our ambition is to create a colourful and diverse natural wildflower meadow that will brighten-up the existing grassed area and which will become a small urban wildlife refuge. We also would like to use this space to promote strong environmental messages. 

Over 10 tonnes of turf and top soil has been removed from the site and replaced with sand and limestone dust. This will reduce the fertility of the meadow and encourage high plant diversity by ensuring that there are not enough nutrients for potentially dominant plants to overpower other plants.

A small voluntary team of natural science curatorial staff have planted over 4,000 native wildflower plants and at least 150 different species of wildflowers and grasses are now established. Slowly but surely, the bare patches of soil and uniform areas of grass are starting to disappear. Once fully established, there should be significant colour in the meadow for six months of the year.

Wildflower meadow

Over the last few weeks, cowslip (above), primrose, celandine and red dead-nettle have provided a welcome splash of spring colour. In today’s sunshine, sweet vernal grass and bluebells are starting to flower.

Come along and see the meadow for yourself and keep an eye on the World Museum Facebook page for more updates about the meadow as it develops.