Wildflower Meadow

The meadows at Gravetye are probably one of William Robinson’s most enduring legacies. In one of his most notable books, The Wild Garden, he describes his efforts in establishing these meadows in the 1880’s and it is fascinating to see what is growing there today. The meadow starts its season in February with the Galanthus and Crocus in a tapestry through the short grass. These give way to hundreds of thousands of Lent Lilly’s, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, which flower through a carpet of sky blue Scillla seberica. Once they finish, bluebells take over the show, accompanied by the lilac Anemone x robinsoniana and native pink cuckoo flower Cardamine pratensis. Then the meadow erupts into its full glory in June with ox-eyed daisies, buttercups and thousands and thousands of common spotted orchids. As these fade away the meadow turns gold as it goes to seed with a purple sheen of the knap weed flowers which finish the show at the end of summer. Large flocks of finches arrive at this time of year, feeding on the seed while the meadow is alive with moths, spiders and the constant song of crickets. Once all the wild flowers have seeded the local farmer cuts the meadow for hay, but this must be done before the autumn crocus flower, giving us one last show before the end of autumn.