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 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. Jubilee Park, UB1 2TJ