Lindeth Drive wildflower border.
The 120m strip of grass bordering the approach to the Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel has been managed simply by mowing it for as long as anyone can remember. It is owned jointly by the hotel and the other residents of Lindeth Drive. Last autumn it was decided to turn it into an asset of higher wildlife value by turning it into a wildflower orchard. Fruit trees that are suited to the northern climate were chosen these include apples, pears, plum, damson and crabapples. Some of these varieties, such as the apple "Wicked Jimmy", named after an Earl of Lonsdale, are native to this area and nationally quite rare.
We had no idea what would happen when the grass was left to grow out and it was supposed that we might need to reduce the fertility of the land and add wildflower seed mix. However, to everyone's delight the grasses turned out not to be over dominant and a large variety of native wildflowers are already present. Early in the year a good amount of yellow rattle flowered; this is a plant that is parasitic on grasses and helps keep it in check. This indicated that we were already on the way to establishing a wild border without the need to introduce seed.
Over 30 species of wildflower have been counted with different ones being in flower throughout the summer providing a steady supply of nectar for many insects. We have already observed several types of meadow butterflies that we don't normally get in managed garden settings.
The highlights of the wildflowers have included an early carpet of the delicate, white heath bedstraw, spikes of white butterfly orchids, masses of deep pink betony, and, as I write in mid-august, plenty of purple knapweed which is a great, late season source of nectar to many insects.
There is a good variety of birdlife along Lindeth drive with its woods and gardens. Sorrel is one of the earliest plants to set seed and by June is already providing food for seed-eaters such as the charming goldfinch.
The grass will not be cut before late August to allow all the flowers to set seed so that in future years we will see an ever more colorful border along with all the attendant insect and bird life and of course we will have, fingers crossed, a plentiful and varied supply of fruit.
By Mr Hugh Dickson - Lindeth Drive Resident
Lindeth Howe Hotel is extremely grateful to Mr Dickson for taking the time out to write this and his effort to make the approach to the hotel so naturally beautiful.