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”

Talk: Hay Days, meadow science for biodiversity and agriculture

This talk was orginally published as part of the Denbigh School STEM Lecture Series 2021. In this video PhD student, Vicky Bowskill, talks about the science of meadows, including: What meadows are and why they are important for both nature and farming; How the things we do to manage our meadows can affect the lifeContinue reading “Talk: Hay Days, meadow science for biodiversity and agriculture”

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”

Edible Meadows: flavours from the floodplain

“Plants know how to make food and medicine from light and water, and then they give it away.” Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass As the remembered beauty of summer meadows fades under the autumn leaves, we can we still enjoy our connection with that fleeting riot of photosynthetic joy. Hay has been the way we’veContinue reading “Edible Meadows: flavours from the floodplain”

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 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”

Floodplain meadows are not as wild as you might think

This article appeared on the FAI Farm blog in August 2020. Read the original article here. Meadows are a fantastic place to see an abundance of wildlife, but they’re not as wild as you might think; they’re an ancient part of our agricultural landscape that has evolved from the need to produce hay to feedContinue reading “Floodplain meadows are not as wild as you might think”

Make meadow hay while the sun shines, but when?

This article was posted on the Open University News page for National Meadows Day on 04 July 2020. Read the original article here. As the haymaking season begins, an OU PhD student is researching the importance of getting the timing of hay cutting right. Vicky Bowskill, a PhD student in the OU’s Faculty of Science,Continue reading “Make meadow hay while the sun shines, but when?”

Haymaking is critical to our heritage meadows, but is later really better?

This article is published on the OpenLearn website and you can read the full version here. Meadows are not just about wildflowers, they’re also about hay as an agricultural crop. But they don’t make it like they used to. PhD student, Vicky Bowskill, explains how researching seasonal changes in the nutritional content of hay canContinue reading “Haymaking is critical to our heritage meadows, but is later really better?”