Welcome to the Secret Garden South of Bobber's Mill Bridge in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, who are nurturing a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us just South of Bobbersmill Bridge, on the allotment site at the South end of Ascot Road. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Wednesday 30 June 2021

  Wildflowers at Windmill

Tammy enjoying the meadow

We have two small wildflower meadows at Windmill Community Gardens, one annual and one perennial.  The annual meadow is dug over every year, after the flowers have died down.  Then new seed is sown in the spring.  Tammy, who is our main meadow volunteer, has changed the seed that we use to dry meadow mix, as she felt that the flowers weren't thriving.  The gardens are on rubble, maybe from the  the old Radford Colliery which was nearby, and the soil is a mix of all sorts, which seems to make it very dry in this area, though it's too wet in our new plot! 

The Annual Meadow 

There are smaller plants in this area, which would be found in a traditional cornfield: Cornflower, Common Poppy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Cockle, Corn Marigold and Vetch.  These are not only attractive in the summer months, but bring pollinators, like Bees, Hover Flies and Butterflies to the garden.

The Perennial Meadow

The other side of the path we have our perennial meadow.  Volunteers have been working on this area for months to get it into this wonderful state.  Part of the area was being taken over by Ground Elder which had to be removed.  This was replaced with a variety of plants, many of which which Tammy has grown herself.  Also a different seed mix. The most successful this year seem to be the Phacelia, which are actually native to the Americas. Tammy is using this species to determine the drainage of the meadow. These have been attracting a lot of bees:


Because it is a perennial meadow it has been possible to grow plants that flower through the spring into the summer.  Starting with Cowslips, Bluebells and of course the favourite early pollinator, the humble Dandelion.  Some plants like the Dandelion will self seed, while others need to be planted and encouraged by clearing things like Ground Elder, which smother them.  Some of the plants that can be found in the perennial meadow are: Ladies Bedstraw, Campions, Ragged Robin, Poppies, Yarrow, Knapweed, Meadow Cranesbill, Salad Burnett, Agrimony, Vetch, Poppies, Ox Eye Daisy, Corn Marigold, Cornflower and Corn Chamomile.  We also planted Yellow Rattle, which is supposed to suppress the grass growth and so increase the amount of flowers.  Unfortunately this hasn't shown it's face yet.  Importantly, we have planted Nottingham Catch Fly, a species of Silene, which Tammy is planting as part of a local conservation project.  Apparently they used to grow on Nottingham Castle walls before the restoration work took place.  Catch Fly have a strong perfume and attract night insects, so are really important for encouraging bats.  Each flower only stays open for three nights to prevent self fertilisation.  Ragged Robin is also a species which is becoming rare.  Notts wildlife are encouraging people like us to grow them.  We are still adding new plants to the meadow and are currently sewing Viper's Bugloss seeds.  I know them from the chalk downlands where I grew up, but apparently they also like disturbed ground, so should do well at Windmill.  Also, unusually for the area, our soil is alkaline.

Nottingham Catch Fly (Selene nutans)

We are also planting wildflowers in other areas of the gardens, particularly the wooded area, over the bridge.  Here there is a large central bed and other smaller beds.  We are introducing woodland species like Bluebells and Foxgloves to increase the bio-diversity of the site.  Some of the trees here are native, and others introduced.  We are lucky to have plenty of Dog Rose and Elderflower bushes in the hedgerows, which not only look and smell good, they also attract pollinators and provide us with nourishing drinks.

Digging the Wildlife Pond and Bog Garden 

As you may be aware, we now rent the next allotment, which is extremely wet, in contrast to the first plot.  Notts Fire Brigade have kindly dug us a wildlife pond and an area for a bog garden.  There are already three large Poplar trees next to the bog area.  We will begin working on the pond and bog garden soon and the surrounding ground, which is wet and partially shaded.  The plan is that the pond will add some extra drainage.  We will be combining food and flowering plants.  Also making sure that we add species that are important for bio-diversity.  This will be a great opportunity for us to include some wetland plants, such as reeds and irises, as well as less common species.  Of course we are hoping to attract frogs and newts, if the ducks let them survive.  It should also attract insects, so provide a good environment for bats and other animals.


The Perennial Meadow in June

Rosemary Jarrett 30/06/2021

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