Hay Time a hit at Gardener’s World Live!
June 18, 2013
We’re back home today after taking our little piece of the Yorkshire Dales to Birmingham NEC for BBC Gardener’s World Live last week.
What a week! On Tuesday, before the show opened to the public, our Hay Time garden – with its wildflower hay meadow, natural woodland, dry stone wall and iconic field barn – was awarded a silver gilt medal.
We thought the Hay Time garden, designed and created by our friend Chris Myers, was a masterpiece. It turns out that hundreds of people we talked to during the week agreed. In fact Gardener’s World presenter Carol Klein declared it a travesty that we didn’t get a gold medal!
The Hay Time garden was a tranquil haven amongst the busy and buzzing atmosphere of the exhibition. Standing at the gate of the garden you were instantly transported to a beautifully wild Dales meadow with ox-eye daisies gently waving in the breeze, ancient moss-clad dry stone walls, hay bales peeking out from the iconic Dales field barn. The back drop was natural broadleaf woodland, complete with woodland plants, foxgloves and nettles.
Many people said the garden looked like it had been there forever, and others that it took them back to their childhood.
The garden also proved a hit with the local wildlife. Tanya (our bee expert) spotted six different species of bee within 10 minutes of arriving at the garden – including lots of red tailed bumble bees. The reason for this was the meadow, brimming with wildflowers and grasses typical of a species-rich upland meadow in the Yorkshire Dales. Among the 30+ species of meadow flora in the garden were ragged robin, wood crane’s bill, yellow rattle, bird’s-foot-trefoil and crested dog’s tail. … a perfect habitat for pollinators.
Of course there was a serious message we were trying to get across by taking the Hay Time garden to Birmingham. The vibrant wildflower hay meadows that were the source of inspiration for the garden are also in grave danger of disappearing from our countryside. 97% of UK meadows have been lost since the 1940’s, making them one of the most threatened habitats in the UK and Europe.
To continue our work to protect the precious few meadows remaining and restore degraded meadows in the Yorkshire Dales we need the public to support our Hay Time appeal by making a donation, buying wildflower seed or simply by spreading the word about hay meadows.
So far locally-harvested wildflower seed has been added to more than 300 hectares and traditional low-intensity management has been reinstated to help bring back native wildflowers and provide a vital habitat for the many rare species of wildlife they support. It’s an important first step, but more still needs to be done to safeguard these beautiful places for future generations.
As YDMT’s Hay Time project manager Don Gamble put it:
Chris and the team have captured the essence of the Yorkshire Dales in this naturalistic garden, and I think it just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a fortune on exotic plants to achieve a beautiful display in your garden. A packet of native wildflower seeds can create stunning results, with the added bonus of being great for pollinators and other wildlife. I hope this garden encourages people to give wildflowers a go at home and to help us restore more meadows in the Dales.
Please help save meadows in the Yorkshire Dales by donating to the Hay Time Appeal. Visit www.ydmt.org/haytimeappeal or call 015242 51002. Native wildflower seeds sourced sustainably from meadows in the North of England are also available from the YDMT website at www.ydmt.org/shop priced at £2.50 per pack including P&P.