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Burnet moth on devil’s bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) Image © Vicky Bowskill

Burnet and Blue

Burnet: A most precious herb, the continual use of it preserves the body in health and the spirit in vigour. Culpeper Great burnet (Sanguisorba officianalis) is a stately denizen of our floodplain meadows – a larger cousin to the more diminutive salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) that you might find in upland calcareous grasslands or asContinue reading “Burnet and Blue”

Watercolour painting of meadow flowers, a bee and a grasshopper.

Forever Meadow: a Poem

It’s National Meadows Day and this poem celebrates the wonder of traditional floodplain hay meadows. These threatened habitats can boast 40 plant species per square metre, which in turn support a vast diversity of animal life. To maintain this important pool of biodiversity these meadows depend on the annual cycle of hay cutting and aftermathContinue reading “Forever Meadow: a Poem”

Cartoon strip with three panes. First: farmer and cow discuss meadow plants and a calendar. Second: Captain Quad Rat riding a quad with fieldwork equipment on the back. Third: Captain Quad Rat cuts hay samples in the meadow.

The Hay Days of Captain Quad Rat

This poster was produced for the Open University 2021 Poster Competition and delightfully won both the People’s Choice Poster and the Judge’s Choice Best Use of Imagery categories. Captain Quad Rat and I are very pleased! You can download this from Open Research Data Online.

Fifties Family Farming

Haymaking has changed dramatically over the last century and is set to change again under new agricultural legislation. Where once the aim was simply to preserve a good yield of summer sunshine to last the winter, the focus up now is increasingly on achieving an optimum balance between producing healthful fodder whilst also promoting biodiversityContinue reading “Fifties Family Farming”

From Shoots to Roots: revealing the above and below ground structure of meadow plants

This has been an amazing project to work on, combining my digital paintings with the botanical expertise of Irina Tatarenko at the Floodplain Meadows Partnership and the extensive research carried out by teams in Russia and the UK; check out the reference list for a taste of how much work is behind this. It showsContinue reading “From Shoots to Roots: revealing the above and below ground structure of meadow plants”

How hay makes meadows

This article was originally posted on the Agricology website. Read the full article here. A healthy floodplain meadow in June is a spectacular sight, teeming with life in every hue. So, it may seem odd that this is also the time farmers choose to mow it all down for hay. But they’ve been doing thisContinue reading “How hay makes meadows”

Video: How hay makes meadows

PhD researcher, Vicky Bowskill, explains how meadow flowers are able to thrive, despite being mown for hay every summer. Further reading: Video: Yarnton and the importance of haymakingwww.floodplainmeadows.org.ukHaymaking is critical to our heritage hay meadows, but is later really better? Transcript This is a floodplain meadow. It’s mid-July and you can see that the swardContinue reading “Video: How hay makes meadows”

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