The Reading team visited a superb flower meadow recently. It was glorious sunshine, and there was an array of multi-coloured delights: Cat’s-ears (Hypochaeris radicata), Hawk’s-beards (Crepis spp.), Red and white clovers (Trifolium pratense & T. repens), Oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Lesser and hop trefoils (Trifolium dubium & T. campestre).
Flower meadow in cemetery before strimming
Unfortunately for the flowers (and the pollinators) this was an urban cemetery, and as we were sampling the workmen with their strimmers advanced. The strimmers were not selective. Every flower was cut. Upon leaving, our survey site all the flowers had gone, and the headstones now lie amongst the close-cropped grass and the scattered, drying remains of those flowers. We were not too impressed with this new flowerless landscape. Its hard to imagine why such severe strimming is necessary, and more importantly, what happens to the many insects that thrived in the area before the strimming? Where do they go when their habitats are modified so severely several times in a season?
Flower meadow in cemetery after strimming