Members of Trinity’s Ethical and Green Affairs Society (TEGA) joined the gardeners to sow Yellow Rattle seeds across the Meadow Circle in New Court this week to encourage a greater diversity of wildflowers next year.
Last month the Meadow Circle was mown by four scythers trained in the tradition, to which the College community were invited.
TEGA President Emily Man said it was a ‘lovely, hopeful thing to do’ and would contribute to a more diverse array of wildflowers and grasses next summer.
When the Meadow Circle was created in 2019, Trinity’s gardeners sowed 14 types of wildflowers and grasses. Since then, a range of butterflies, bees and other insects have been spotted in the Meadow Circle, where benches enable members of the College community to enjoy a peaceful break.
With the biodiversity app, iRecord, the gardeners are building up a picture of range and prevalence of species that inhabit the College’s 36-acre grounds.
With scything, the seeds dropped to the ground and now need the cold of winter to enable them to germinate in spring. Yellow Rattle, an annual that thrives in grasslands, aids this process by feeding off the nutrients in the roots of grasses, suppressing their growth and thereby allowing more delicate species to establish themselves.
Ms Wells said it would also help if people kept to the grass paths in the Meadow Circle.
‘Now the Meadow Circle has been cut short, it can be tempting to take a shortcut over areas where the wildflowers grow and forget about the grass paths. Some fallen seeds have already germinated and these have a greater chance of becoming a mature plant attractive to bees and other insects next year if they are not trodden on and squashed,’ she said.
Come next summer, the bright flowers, and later the rattling seed pods, of the Yellow Rattle will be part of an even more colourful and diverse wildflower meadow in New Court.