Following a very kind donation from Emorsgate Seeds, part of the wildflower meadow was scarified and sown with yellow rattle seed in September.
Yellow rattle is an attractive, semi-parasitic grassland annual, which in the past was a serious pest for farmers as it weakens grasses and could reduce hay yields by up to 50%. However, in a landscape context like Alleyfield, this suppression of grass growth is welcomed as it allows a better diversity and growth of wild flowers.
The seeds were originally harvested from Clattinger Farm SSSI in Wiltshire and are a useful addition to any wildflower meadow by encouraging species diversity.
Some of the volunteer Trustees scarified a large area and removed much of the summer growth of grass. The seeds were then spread over the entire area and will hopefully germinate in early spring, flower in June and set seed in July. The seed pods “rattle” when shaken, accounting for its name.