Wildflowers in Llanblethian orchard
Llanblethian orchard is home to a whole range of wildflowers across multiple habitats.
I keep the orchard using a no till, minimal cutting regime. Generally the only areas I cut are the entrance and around the trees themselves just before harvest. I leave the rest of the land uncut to encourage both wildflowers and wildlife. The only interjections are occasionally cutting back any bramble thickets trying to create a blasted monoculture in winter. As well as pulling out any ragwort or worse that has reared it’s ugly head.
The land has not been ploughed since my family bought it. It has not been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers – with the exception of spot spraying a few noxious weeds over a decade ago – since purchased.
Because of the methods used maintaining our orchard it has preserved and encouraged a rich biodiversity of wildflowers and wildlife. This has to a large degree also naturally kept on top of pest species of our trees as it has a strong ecosystem. Nature has her ways after all 🙂
History of Llanblethian orchard
The orchard has been in my family for around 30 years. Originally we grazed horses on the land before beginning to plant the orchard in 2006.
Being low lying land bordering a watercourse the land has probably been used as a meadow for grazing livestock for centuries.
Alongside the land there is public right of way which was used to drive
animals down to drink from the stream when Mount Ida opposite was
grazed. One of the houses in Piccadilly still holds the historic grazing rights
for the common land on Mount Ida.
The previous owners used the land as a riding school. The railway wagon used as a makeshift stable for it is still present near the gate.
From chatting to older residents of Llanblethian at one time previous owners of Dan-Y-Graig used to harvest and sell the watercress from the stream in the orchard.
The previous owners of Dan-Y-Graig also had an old photo of pigs being kept on the land. I really wish I’d asked for a copy before they moved alas.
Habitats in Llanblethian orchard
To the west of our land lies Mount Ida, which is part historic woodland, part recently colonised woodland. In the shadow of the ‘mountain’ we have a row of ancient ash trees bordering our land. This provides the perfect shaded habitat for a range of spring flowering woodland wildflowers
At the entrance to the land the ground is raised and fairly compacted. This gives a naturally short grass allowing a range of small meadow plants to thrive.
The grasslands of the floodplain provides perfect habitat for damp loving meadow wildflowers.
A traditional herringbone drainage pattern runs across our orchard. The banks of which provide good habitat for wildflowers specialising in banks and ditches. As well as wildflowers adapted to winter wet growing in the ditches themselves.
There is both a stream and river navigating our land. They provide habitat for aquatic adapted species.
Wildflowers present in Llanblethian Orchard
Below are the photographs of wildflowers growing in Llanblethian orchard I have taken over the years. I have attempted to identify them as best I can. If you do have any corrections please feel free to contact me here.
I hope you enjoy the photographs!