Elf Green in the Glamis Estate was a stunning blaze of colour at the start of this summer, thanks to a new wildflower meadow sown by EastendHomes. Red poppies, blue cornflowers and purple corncockle bloom among a sea of white-and-yellow corn chamomile.
The meadow was created at the start of this year. Topsoil was scraped from an area in the middle of the green to reveal the less fertile subsoil, with the topsoil made into a mound beside the scrape. Both mound and scrape were sown with a wildflower seed mix, containing cornfield annuals and perennial meadow plants. Plants appeared rapidly on the mound in spring, while those on the scrape took longer to appear, but both looked spectacular in June, as Paul Wilson’s photographs show. The low nutrients on the scrape should help a diverse meadow to develop in the long term.
The meadow is the centrepiece of a new community garden, created with the help of local residents and Trees for Cities. Bulbs and woodland wild flowers have been planted in a shady corner, flower beds full of nectar-rich perennials have been created, and new trees have been planted. Much of the work was completed on a Community Planting Day in February 2013, attended by over 50 people including Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman.
The “cornfield annuals” which look so spectacular on Elf Green were once common in arable fields, but are now scarce in the countryside due to changing farming practices. Some, such as corncockle, are more or less extinct in the wild in Britain. They are often added to meadow seed mixes to provide a good show of flowers in the first couple of years. Once the perennial meadow flowers and grasses establish, the annuals, which need bare ground to set seed, will gradually die out.