Wild flowers in West London.

Bees are having a tough time around the world. Oddly, they are surviving very well in cities. One reason are the wild flower meadows in London and for some summer relief I thought I would tell you the story of the one shown below.

We live in west London, in an area that was farmland as recently as the 1930s and used to produce vegetables and milk for the population of London. When the London underground (the “tube”) was extended into this rural west, housing sprung up around the central and metropolitan lines (Metroland). In our case, the large meadows adjacent to the new housing were left undeveloped due to their propensity to become waterlogged and flooded from the nearby river Brent. Flood prevention schemes have now made such flooding largely a thing of the past and part of the meadows have been turned into a golf course. But the area that you see above is largely left to nature and in the normal course of events the grasses grow copiously and cause the local population to suffer mightily from hay fever between June-August.

Not this year, when a tractor from the local council (Ealing) turned up in March and ploughed the grassy area up! For two months it lay fallow because there was almost no rain in May or June, but after several decent showers the area started to bloom and we all realized that the tractor must also have sown wild flower seeds. Its been a riot of colour for more than a month now and looks likely to continue for a little while yet. The bees love it (it’s not been such a good year for butterflies however). So do the human residents; you can see our house in the background! On a number of occasions now, contemplating the start of a new day, I have wandered out into the meadow, frankly with all thoughts of writing a blog abandoned. Except this one, since I did feel like sharing our pleasure. I cannot share the scent of the flowers however, which is also pretty heady. I should perhaps also mention that rather to the left of the photo above is the river Brent and along its route grows wild mustard in spring and many a bramble bearing luscious fruits in July. Foraging for these is another delight! 

Update on  4th August, 2017. Perivale Park, UB6 9BG

Update on  20th August, 2017. Perivale Park, UB6 9BG

Update on  6th September, 2017. Perivale Park, UB6 9BG

Update on 1st October, 2017, Perivale Park, UB6 9GB


Update on 10th December, 2017.

Update on 19th December, 2017.

Update on 8th May, 2018.

Update on  17th August, 2017. Cayton Green Park. UB6 8BJ.

Update on  11th August, 2017. King George’s Playing Fields, UB1 2QA

Update on  11th August, 2017. Jubilee Park, UB1 2TJ

8 Replies to “Wild flowers in West London.”

  1. Hi Henry. It was great seeing you (and the flowers) this week on my morning commute. Thanks for chronicling this beautiful sight in West London! Best, Chris.

  2. I have contacted the local authority (thanks Brad!!) and he has provided me with a list of all the meadows in West London where wild flower plantings were made this spring:

    Cayton Green Park UB6 8BS
    Jubilee Park  UB1 2TJ
    Spikes Bridge Park  UB1 9AR
    Ealing Common  W5 3NT
    Southall Park  UB1 3BT
    Walpole Park  W5 5BG
    King Georges Playing Fields  UB1 2QA
    Ravenor Park  UB6 9LB
    Limetrees Park  UB5 5LA
    Northala Fields  UB5 6UQ
    Perivale Park, UB6 9BG

    We hope to visit them and bring back further photos!

    1. Lovely pictures, the mixes used are a mixture of native and non native species. In a way they are better than a true native mix as they tend to flower for longer. But protecting wildlife is not just about pollination. Just as important are plants for insect herbivores to eat over 60% of UK invertebrates are herbivores and they need native plants to eat. The plants they need are generally the common species such as Dock, Stinging Nettle, Cleavers, Bramble, Common Daisy, Creeping Buttercup, Sow Thistles, Thistles and most of all grasses such as Fescues, Bent Grasses, Yorkshire Fog, Cocksfoot Grass , False Brome and Meadow Grasses. I am running London’s first ever woodmeadow at Pinner Recreation Ground and projects at Headstone Green and Pinner Village Gardens and we ensure there is a place for these species, (see facebook improvements to Pinner Recreation Ground, and Friends of Pinner Village Gardens, Harrow Biodiversity and Environment Facebook, Harrow Nature Conservation Forum Facebook

  3. With the managed cut of the “wild” flowers in west London now under way, I have heard that the 2018 planting will be extended to 20 hectares, from the 8 planted in 2017. No doubt new sites will be chosen and I hope to post photos from the 2018 edition next year!

  4. Here is one tangible outcome of the London Nation Park City proposal, a map of station2station walks, incorporating wild flower meadows. See all the walks at http://www.nationalparkcity.london/station_walks . I have highlighted one that incorporates the Perivale park meadow below, with the possibility of more plantings in “Brent Lodge/Bunny Park” and Bitern’s field.

  5. Oleg, The meadows were originally sown with annual flowers, so you will not see them as they were in 2017. Since then the focus both in Perivale park and other neighbourhood parks has been more on perennial seed mixes, albeit focussed on providing birds with winter food and much less so colour for humans. This year a smaller strip of land has been sown with a mix of annuals and perennials, see https://www.perivalepark.london/archives/24003 but we do not expect these to flower until around August (depending on the rains of course)

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