Members of the Ponds Project team, including the Heath’s senior ecologist, recently went to look at turf which is being specially grown for the spillways at Viaduct Pond and Vale of Health. This turf is being grown by a company called Wildflower Turf, who are one of the country’s leading suppliers of bespoke turf. The turf for the two spillways has a mixture of grasses and wildflowers and has been designed to fit in with the Heath’s existing landscape but also provide a robust enough lining for the new spillways.
The wildflowers within the mix include Autumn Hawkbit, Betony, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Cats Ear, Common Sorrel, Common Toadflax, Common Vetch, Cowslip, Lady’s Bedstraw, Kidney Vetch, Meadow Buttercup, Meadow Cranesbill, Ragged Robin, Wild Red Clover, Meadowsweet, St Johns Wort, Self Heal. They are chosen to provide a continual flowering period from April to August and should thrive in semi shade conditions. The inclusion of wildflowers not only looks attractive, but will also boost biodiversity in the area and encourage insects such as butterflies and bees.
The turf is originally grown on a plastic matting. When it reaches the correct maturity, it is then rolled up (without the matting) and transported to the Heath. It is then rolled out in the correct location and given plenty of water to help it become established.
The first turf has now been laid at Viaduct Pond and I will share some pictures on the blog soon.