In The Press: Christ Church’s Meadow Regeneration Project

Christ Church’s floodplain meadow regeneration project has been celebrated in a Financial Times feature.

In the piece by gardener and garden writer Jim Cable, Christ Church’s Head Gardener John James speaks about the fruits of a two-year process to introduce wildflower species to the Meadow.

The process has seen a proliferation of new varieties of wildflowers on the previously over-fertilised grazing land, which is crucial for protecting habitats and improving carbon capture.

Some of the new species successfully introduced are devil’s bit scabious, great burnet, meadow buttercup, hawkbits and yellow rattle.

Jim writes of the importance in particular of yellow rattle, which “is critical to the flourishing of the meadow habitat.

“Its roots latch on to the roots of the grasses among which it lives, stealing some of their nutrients. The resulting reduction in the grasses’ growth allows more delicate plant species to gain a foothold.

“Prior to 2020, there was no yellow rattle in Christ Church meadow. The range of wild flowers was sparse as a result.”

Using seeds sourced from Long Mead Local Wildlife Park in Eynsham, part of a scheme known as the Thames Valley Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project, John and his team used a combination of hay spreading and seed cultivation to establish the new species.

The result, as can be seen in this video, is a rich abundance of wildflowers and the resurrection of ancient species to our historic Meadow.