Royal Park Goes Wild With Meadowmat

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St James’s Park in Central London came alive this summer after 800 square metres of Meadowmat Wild Flower Mat was installed beside the lake.

wild flowers in bloom in front of Buckingham Palace

Keepers at the park were looking for a wildlife-friendly way of brightening up the lakeside that wouldn’t impact on the water birds that graze, rest and nest beside the water.  Her Majesty’s birthday celebrations made it all the more important that the park was as colourful as possible this summer.

Low lifetime cost of maintenance made Meadowmat attractive to Parks' management team

As always in this day and age, the cost of installation and maintenance were of prime consideration.  Even The Royal Parks are not immune from budget constraints.

Park Managers liked the idea of using perennial planting that needs minimal long-term maintenance.  Using native plants to create habitat for a wild range of creatures was an attractive idea.  As was the concept of speedy installation and establishment.  A carpet of plants unrolled onto the ground is less labour intensive than hand planting individual plants and more likely to withstand the attention of curious ducks, geese and swans.

Meadowmat wild flower mat was spotted at Battersea’s Landscape Show in 2015 and seemed to fit the bill perfectly – the only point of concern was whether it would be damaged by waterfowl trampling it – or over-grazing it before it became properly established.   As you can see from the photographs, those fears proved unfounded.

Wild flowers are attractive to wildlife AND visitors

Mike Turner, Assistant Park Manager is delighted with the results.  “The public are enjoying this show of wildflowers just as much as the wildlife” he said “and the beauty of it is that using native species is helping to restore the balance of nature in the very heart of London.”

Wild flowers beside the lake in St James's Park London

One huge advantage of using wild flowers so close to a water course is that their very nature excludes any use of artificial fertilisers.  That means that there is no danger of excess nitrogen leaching into the lake and upsetting the balance of nutrients in the water.

“If the lake were to become too rich in certain nutrients we’d see an overgrowth of algae and weed which has a detrimental effect on the whole natural ecosystem, something we desperately want to avoid” added Mike.

“It’s a joy and a privilege to have been involved in this project” says Kevin Harden from Harrowden Turf. “I’m a great fan of urban green spaces and it’s great to see more wildflowers being used in towns and cities.”

For More Information

Learn more about the benefits of Meadowmat for public spaces in this downloadable document

For prices and technical specifications, please email Kev Harden

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