June 2021 Field Trip to Grow Wilder, Bristol

In June our members were taken on a guided tour of the Avon Wildlife Trust Grow Wilder site
by project manager Matt Cracknell.
The site, formerly Feed Bristol, has sustainable, organic, educational and regenerative policies with wildflower patches everywhere. Mammals abound, in particular harvest mice, stoats, badgers and hedgehogs, and kestrels patrol overhead. There are several natural ponds to ensure that the local amphibians and insects have all that they need. Meadow ants have colonised an area by one of the ponds.
There is a harvest mouse nest in the rose hedge and we saw lots of mullein moth caterpillars on their host plant. Surrounding the planted veg beds in the “Big Field” were many pollinator- and predator-friendly plants.
Thick-legged flower beetle on Pencilled cranesbill
Small Tortoiseshell on Ox-eye daisy
We saw many iridescent-green rose chafer beetles on the rose, and also on the corky-fruited water-dropwort at the roadside verge; obviously they both suited the chafer's pollen diet!
In the fruit and nut tree area were Rosa rugosa which is grown for its hips, buckthorn and blackberry for their berries, hazel for nuts and elder for flowers and berries

Once we were back at the wildflower nursery section, Shaun took over to talk about their Living Seed Bank or Ark; they sow 50-100 plants of each wildflower obtained from outside, then collect the seed to sow in following years, thus ensuring that the plants they sell and plant out are all locally sourced.

We finished our tour with a shopping trip around the nursery, Shaun advising us as to the appropriate wildflowers for our needs, whether to plant in our own wildflower meadow, or to stock a pond in a sunken half-barrel (example on site!).

Visit the Grow Wilder website for more information on their project. 

Liz Wintle
Photos: Rita Andrews

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Protecting wildlife for the future
Keynsham Group
Avon Wildlife Trust
Registered charity 280422

Email: keynshamawt@gmail.com