Monday, 3 June 2013

Reading Flower Meadows in early June 2013

Here we are again with an update on the progress of the Reading flower meadows. The annual meadows were sown in the first half of May and are germinating nicely now. The recent rain togehter with the nice sunshine at the moment will help the seedlings to establish and we hope we can see the first flowers at the end of June.
The annual meadow in Rabsons Recreation Ground
The first annual seedlings

Meadow buttercup in Cintra Park
The perennial meadows are making progress as well with the first sown species starting to flower. Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris), red campion (Silene dioica), white campion (Silene latifolia), red clover (Trifolium pratense), rough hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus), birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) are flowering at the moment and will soon be followed by wild carrot (Daucus carota), black knapweed (Centaurea nigra) and viper`s bugloss (Echium vulgare). The perennial meadow with the most flowers at the moment is the one along Portman Road, so have a look if you happen to drive past it.

Wild carrot will soon start to flower in Meadway Rec Ground
The perennial meadow along Portman Road is full of ox-eye daisies
Ox-eye daisies are starting to flower now
Rough hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus)
Red campion in the perennial meadow in Prospect Park
White campion flowering in the Westfield Rd Rec Ground meadow
Birds-foot trefoil is starting to flower now as well
The perennial meadow in Westfield Road Recreation Ground

The perennial meadows are already attracting quite a lot of pollinators. We have seen different bumblebee species, for example buff-tailed / white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris / lucorum), tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), early bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) and common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum). We have also seen several solitary bees, a beautiful green and shiny rose chafer beetle (Cetonia aurata), a malachite beetle (Malachius bipustulatus) and several hoverflies. Once more flowers are opening we expect the perennial meadows to be a hotspot and invaluable food source for many different kinds of pollinating insects.

Bombus terrestris/lucorum in a white dead-nettle flower
Bombus pascuorum likes white dead-nettles as well
A little solitary bee on a daisy flower
A malachite beetle in a meadow buttercup flower
A rose chafer on a rough hawkkbit flower
Another malachite beetle on an ox-eye daisy flower

If you want to visit the flower meadows in Reading have a look here to find the flower meadow locations. Between mid-June and August is a good time to see the perennial flower meadows. Visit the annual flower meadows from July onwards; they will flower until the first frosts in autumn.

We have now started to sample our perennial flower meadows in Reading. If you see some strange people with insect nets and a measuring wheel, walking along the meadow and staring at flowers, that is probably us. So do say hello if you happen to see us during your meadow visit.

Ellen has caught a pollinator

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