Hever Castle & Gardens and Hever Castle Golf Course have worked together to create nine flower meadows covering 4,500 square metres on both the Lake Walk area of the Castle (open to visitors) and the Golf Course itself.
A kaleidoscope of rainbow colours has burst forth beside the Lake with fourteen species including Calendula officinalis (Marigold), Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower), Cosmos bipinnatus, Linum grandiflorum (Flax) and Papaver rheas (Common Poppy).
The flower meadows have been created by Rob Peers the Head Greenkeeper at Hever Castle Golf Club. Rob says: “Hever Castle’s CEO, Duncan Leslie, afforded me the opportunity to create a long-standing ambition of his – to create flower meadows on the Golf Course and the lower walks on the lake within the grounds of Hever Castle.”
Each of the nine selected areas had different considerations and their own micro climate, environment and purpose. For Rob Peers, it was really important to select sites that would improve bio-diversity and to provide functionality and purpose to the areas which had previously been dominated by aggressive species such as bramble and nettle.
The first area of the flower meadows developed by Rob and his team was affectionately nicknamed ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’, Rob explains: “it was the first point of contact as we passed through the fence from the Golf Course into the grounds of the Castle. We felt when we entered this part of the Castle’s beautiful grounds that we’d escaped!”
Sown during the period of April – June, the flowering period of this rainbow mix will continue here until November. Rob says; “this mix, which includes marigold, cosmos, flax and poppy is my preferred mix – it looks great around the Lake and is a very good pollinator.”
The Anne of Cleves Bower House folly, which can be viewed from the pathway close to the Lake, became the second area tackled by the team. Rob says: “The folly, close to the riverside bower, was hidden among the under-growth, and we were thrilled to uncover it for the first time in years and bring it back to life with a more subtle and feminine flower mix.” Rob’s team planted species such as Anethum graveolens (Dill), Borago officinalis (Borage), Callistephus Chinensis (China Aster) and Lupinus nanus (Lupin) here.
Rob and his team have selected a more sympathetic visual appearance to match the parkland on the Golf Course itself by using a more native and naturalised species mix called ‘Flora Britannica’ which includes Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), Aquilegia vulgaris (Common columbine), Borago officinalis (Borage) and Campanula carpatica (Tussock bellflower). He says: “ it not only looks great, but it fits in beautifully with the landscape and has also proved to be another fantastic pollinator.”