In Spring 2018 we plan to enlarge the wildflower area on Froyle recreation ground by sowing cornfield annuals.
Now all we need are volunteers to make it happen! Can you help on Saturday 24th February 2-4pm to roll up and remove turves? (The turf will have already have been cut by machine). If so please bring a garden spade and gloves, refreshments will be available. We will then cultivate the ground on Saturdays 17th March and 7th April at 2pm and again assistance would be appreciated. Update: The seed (Emorsgate EC2) was sown on 7th April after a total 40h of work by 9 different volunteers.
Previously in 2015 a 5x20m area of the recreation ground was stripped of turf and the ground cultivated to sow wildflower meadow seed mixture. In the following summer of 2016 cornfield annuals provided a magnificent display before the annual cut at end of July that allowed the perennials more space to grow. In late spring/summer 2017 the perennial wildflowers and meadow grasses all flowered well but were less colourful than the previous year. The end of July cut each year is essential to maintain the area as wildflower meadow. See photos at the link.
The plan is to cultivate a new 5x10m area and sow with cornfield annuals only. If sown before the end of April these should flower from July to September. This area would not be cut until the following year when the ground would again be cultivated in spring and sown with cornfield annuals. Volunteers from Froyle Wildlife would do this for 3 years to 2020 and then review with Froyle Parish Council. The area could then be grassed over again or continue as wildflowers.
An advantage of spring sown cornfield annuals is that they should flower at a different time of year to the perennial wildflower meadow area, lengthening the season to autumn. There should be a colourful display of cornfield annuals each year and more nectar for bees and other insects. The area will be lengthened in village hall direction and have a 2m wide grass strip between the cornfield annuals area and the perennial wildflower meadow area. The turf stripped from the new area will be put behind the existing stacks.
Update August 2018: The new area of cornfield annuals flowered well this summer despite the exceptional heat and lack of rain. In July the poppies were at their peak and then the corn marigolds and corn camomile extended the flowering season.