Nature on our doorsteps - Winter meadows in Tymon Park

Rosaleen Dwyer is the County Heritage Officer at South Dublin County Council – every week she gives us an insight into the natural heritage around us and the beautiful biodiversity of the plants and creatures

By Rosaleen Dwyer

Last summer, the flowering meadows in Tymon Park were very colourful, providing abundant nectar and pollen to pollinating insects.

As part of a wider plan to help pollinating insects and birds in our public parks, some of these meadows were not mown in autumn time.

Tymon Parks winter meadows are a vital source of food and shelter for birds and insects compressor

Tymon Park’s winter meadows are a vital source of food and shelter for birds and insects 

Clumps of grass, brown stems and seed heads were left standing, offering enormous benefits to wildlife in the park during winter.

Flocks of finches are regularly seen swooping down to feed on the seed heads of plants like Knapweed, Common Hogweed, Dock, and Oil-seed Rape.

Stonechat and Meadow Pipits are also sometimes spotted.

Although there are no flowers left, insects continue to benefit. Both the adult and the young of many of next season’s pollinators are overwintering deep inside the uncut tussocks of grass, or in Hogweed’s hollow stems.

Brown winter meadows can be interesting for us too as park users, offering a nice contrast to the more regularly cut green spaces in the rest of Tymon Park.

The seed heads of Hogweed are shaped like an umbrella compressor

Seed heads of Hogweed are shaped like an umbrella

The shapes of many of the brown seed heads can be quite elegant and beautiful to look at.

We can also delight in the knowledge that wildlife will continue to benefit from these uncut meadows until spring arrives, at which time the meadows will be cut short again in readiness for next season’s flowering.

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