Friday, 6 September 2013

Leeds Flower Meadows August 2013

With the fair weather continuing into August, our urban flower meadows have flourished under the sunshine this summer. 

Our perennial meadows are past their best in terms of aesthetic appearance for us humans, but the insects are still utilising them for valuable pollen and nectar resources. Wild carrot (Daucus carota) is still going strong in most of our 5 meadows, with yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare) being fairly abundant too. More information on the wildflower species in our perennial meadow mix can be found in the Reading team's blog post hereAs well as being beneficial for insects, once the perennial meadows have mostly flowered and reached these later stages, they can provide important food sources for birds from the wildflowers that have gone to seed. Here are a few of our best snaps of the perennial meadows...

Burley Park meadow (Burley), late July
Bombus terrestris on wild carrot
Eristalis sp. hoverfly on carrot
Surveying at Burley Park
Burley Park meadow, mid-August - looking more bare now
Cuckoo bumblebee on field scabious 
Cross Flatts Park meadow, early August
Interesting parasitic wasp at Cross Flatts Park
Ebor Gardens meadow (near Osmondthorpe), late July
Ebor Gardens meadow, mid-August 
Brilliant, beautiful wild carrot
Volucella inanis hoverfly on wild carrot
Musk mallow has finished flowering in most meadows, but aren't the seed pods pretty?
Scott Hall Pitches meadow (Potternewton), early August
Scott Hall Pitches meadow, early August 
Scott Hall meadow, late August - what a difference a few weeks make
Hedge bedstraw is still going strong in some meadows 
Stanhope Recreation Ground (Horsforth), early August
Stanhope Recreation Ground, late August - not many flowers now

Our annual meadows are looking fantastic right now, and have been doing all month. Now is the time to visit them if you want to see them at their best - for the locations of all our Leeds meadows, click here. The annual meadow seed mix is full of bright, colourful nectar and pollen-rich flowers. Each of our 10 annual meadows vary with which plants are the most dominant - some full of corn poppies (Papaver rhoeas), others are dominated by Cosmos, and some which are further on in their flowering season are now covered in Cosmidium. We just love taking photos of these meadows as they are so photogenic - especially when the sun comes out! - so here are a few of the best...

Armley Park meadow (Armley), late July - dotted with scentless mayweed and poppies
Armley Park - poppies, cornflowers and  mayweed
Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) is not in the seed mix but proves great for pollinators like this solitary bee
Armley Park, mid-August - more colour but fewer poppies
Armley Park - now dominated by redshank (Persicaria maculosa)...
...which is also popular with pollinators like hoverflies
Chapel Allerton Park (Chapel Allerton), early August
Bumblebee on Cosmos
Can you spot the honeybee enjoying this poppy?
Hoverfly on sweet alyssum
Chapel Allerton Park, late August 
East End Park (Osmondthorpe), late July - poppies galore

Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) on Cosmos
East End Park, mid-August
Hunslet Moor meadow (Hunslet), early August - the fun fair comes to town!
Hoverfly checking out the marigold
Hunslet Moor, early September
Hunslet Moor - looking fantastic
Honeybee buzzing off to her next flower!
King Lane meadow (Moortown/Adel), early August
Eristalis sp. hoverfly on Virginia stock
King Lane: a riot of colour
Small white butterfly on sweet alyssum
King Lane meadow, late August - a great shot of an "urban" meadow!
Middleton Park meadow (Middleton), early August - dots of colour here and there
Male white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) on cornflower
Middleton Park, early September - now it's bursting with life 
Sunny Cosmidium
Episyrphus balteatus hoverfly on Cosmidium
Queen's Park (Pudsey), late July
Poppies, Cosmos and Cosmidium looking great
Queen's Park, mid-August
Seacroft Ring Road meadow (Seacroft), late July
A splash of colour to the Leeds Ring Road
Seacroft Ring Road meadow, mid-August - a beautiful sight for the lorry drivers!
Stanningley Park (Stanningley), early August
Helophilus sp. hoverfly on Cosmos
Stanningley Park, late August
Hoverfly on poppy
West Park Playing Fields meadow (off Spen Lane), early August
Cornflowers and Cosmos - beautiful!
West Park Playing Fields meadow, mid-August - glowing in the sunshine
Honeybee on Cosmidium

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