Hung, Drawn and Quartered: a meadow season

Here endeth the second field season of my PhD, researching some fabulous floodplain meadows in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. I was fortunate to be able to complete a full field season this year after being curtailed by lockdowns in 2020. This year my research has been hung, drawn and quartered, which wasn’t nearly as painful asContinue reading “Hung, Drawn and Quartered: a meadow season”

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”

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”

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.

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: The Art of Hay Sampling

This video was filmed during data collection in June and July 2020. PhD student, Vicky Bowskill, demonstrates how she is sampling floodplain meadow hay to investigate the way nutritional content changes, depending on when it is harvested. This can help land managers to maintain healthy meadows, whilst also providing a balanced diet for pasture-fed livestock.Continue reading “Video: The Art of Hay Sampling”