Wild Flower Meadows

30th June 2023
Today is National Meadows Day and with over 100 different types of wildflowers flourishing across the Estate, from cow parsley to orchids, wildflower season is in full swing at Goodwood.
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Today is National Meadows Day and with over 100 different types of wildflowers flourishing across the Estate, from cow parsley to orchids, wildflower season is in full swing at Goodwood.

Goodwood Estate has always embraced the beauty of wildflower meadows and has taken great care to create sustainable environments that are ideal for their growth. Among the remarkable species is the Bee Orchid, known for resembling a female bee. Male bees pollinate the flowers by trying to mate with them, unfortunately, these bee species no longer reside in the UK, so this particular type of orchid is self-pollinated

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Goodwood is currently running six wildflower projects across the estate, from Goodwood Motor Circuit to the Park Golf Course.

Our partnership with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has allowed us to expand on our seed harvesting initiative through the investment of a mechanised wildflower seed harvester, built to order last year. This tow-along harvester helps to increase the efficiency of collection and allows us to gather a wider variety of species from around the estate. Seeds collected from our wildflowers have been sown this year, resulting in an abundance of small plugs ready to be planted. To ensure the preservation of the meadows, the seed harvester carefully brushes the seeds into a pot or sack, minimising any damage to the grass. This careful harvesting process takes place in May, June, and early autumn. This year, the Goodwood Gardens Team also sowed yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) which is a semi-parasitic plant that can be used to restore monocultures of planted grassland back into a rich natural meadow by feeding off the stronger commercial ‘sports turf’ grasses, depriving them of nutrients and allowing more delicate native species to compete, which in turn supports a greater variety of wildflower species. Once established, Yellow Rattle will propagate naturally without assistance, which we hope will lead to exponential improvement of our verges and unmanaged grass areas.

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Wildflower meadows serve as invaluable sanctuaries for wildlife and provide a consistent source of food for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators with food sources throughout the year. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “On a single day in summer, one acre of wildflower meadow can contain 3 million flowers, producing 1kg of nectar sugar. That’s enough to support nearly 96,000 honey bees per day.” This really highlights the critical role that wildflower meadows play in nurturing biodiversity. In addition to their role in supporting pollinators, wildflower meadows provide safe habitats for a diverse range of insects, birds, and small mammals, encouraging a healthy and balanced ecosystem.

Along with their many other benefits, wildflower meadows create a beautiful display of colour across the estate over the summer months.

National Meadows Day is an annual event that takes place on the first Saturday of July each year to celebrate our magnificent meadows across the UK.

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