June 2019

Earlier this month in conjunction with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT), we carried out an interim survey on our three designated wildflower development areas to assess germination levels and to confirm the identity of the newly introduced species.

With ever increasing pressures on land usage for housing and urbanisation, Golf Clubs provide a unique opportunity to protect and help sustain areas of the natural habitat for our environmental well-being.  Eaton is now recognised as playing a leading role within this National initiative. Since its inception as a golf Course from arable farmland, we are able to report some pleasing progress with the establishment of several new species including Yellow Rattle, Lesser Trefoil, Common Sorrel, Oxeye Daisy, Ribwort Plantain, Common Vetch, Red Poppy and Cornflowers. There are also two newly established grass varieties, Crested Dog’s Tail and Sweet Vernal, both valuable food sources for Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Skipper butterflies together with other insect species.

As anticipated, all plots will require some spot spraying to curb aggressive weed growth and in the Autumn, following the annual hay baling, we intend to over-sow some specific areas where lower germination occurred.

The next stage, in liaison with the CWT, will be to augment the recommended species mix with pre- grown plugs. This will be carried out in 2020.

The chosen seeds were harvested from natural wildflower meadows, indigenous to the North West region. Whilst there is the obvious aesthetic benefit, the primary choice and reason is to introduce varieties that provide measurable support to the wildlife food chain and general habitat.

The supplementary plants are:

Knapweed, a tough meadow plant and a huge attraction for certain species of butterfly including the Marbled White, the Common Blue and the Silver Studded Blue.

Scabious,  blue flowers are a food source for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly (this is a priority species on the UK diversity framework).

Meadow  Vetchling,   a perennial legume and a favourite food source for bees. (for those interested, this plant species is hermaphrodite!)

Birds foot trefoil, important food plant for Blue butterflies and Wood Whites.

The wildflower project forms part of our ongoing environmental sustainability policy including our planned pond maintenance programme scheduled for the Autumn.

Rex Kingsley