The Royal Parks in London was keen to promote wildlife and biodiversity in Britain's capital city, as well as managing rising maintenance costs.
Following trials in 2016 using Meadowmat wildflower matting beside the lake in St James's Park, it was decided to increase the areas of wildflower meadow planting, expanding the scheme into Marlborough Gate, The Mall, Green Park and enlarging the wildflower areas in St James's Park.
Harrowden Turf Ltd supplied 1,300 square metres of Meadowmat wildflower turf. Meadowmat is a pre-grown matting of native wildflowers and grasses. It overcomes all of the problems associated with growing wildflowers from seed, particularly - as is the case within The Royal Parks - where the resident bird population would make a meal of newly-sown seed.
There are five varieties of Meadowmat available, including a shade-tolerant mix. The Royal Parks chose Traditional Meadowmat which contains 34 plant species native to the UK. Many of the species are larval food plants for butterflies, and all have native provenance.
The trial area of Meadowmat installed at St James's Park in 2016 delighted visitors and provided a colourful backdrop for the Queen's Jubilee Celebrations. Further swathes of Meadowmat installed in Spring 2017 have established well and are promising to be just as (if not more) beautiful than the original trial.
The trial area is also doing well. It has survived the winter and the accompanying onslaught of ducks and geese who walk, sit and feed on it. Meadowmat is perennial and does not need to be resown or replanted once it has established.
Mike Turner, Assistant Parks Manager said "The Royal Parks are not just for tourists, they are the lungs of London and an important part of the urban ecosystem. By incorporating more wildflowers into our planting plans we are supporting all manner of wildlife thus making London more interesting for visitors of all ages and all species."