Wildflower meadows and nectar highways
As well as growing and cultivating plants collected from every continent of the world, the grounds of our Exeter campuses also continue to grow native plants that provide habitats for out traditional and sometimes rare flora and fauna.
Grounds staff have identified sites suitable for establishing areas that can be sympathetically managed in order that native plants can thrive.
We have both perennial and annual wild flower meadows on campus. Some of these, eg in strips alongside water course, have been encouraged to develop naturally, through a reduction in cutting regimes. Others have been deliberately established either to create nectar highways or to take areas out of regular maintenance which may have become too steep to cut safely with machinery.
Wild flowers are easily outcompeted by grasses and broad-leafed weed species, so the areas require careful management and are not left un-maintained.
Current sites include:
- Rear of Laver/Harrison
- Rowancroft residences
- Streatham Court
- Poole Gate/Forum ponds
- Roof of Mood Disorder building
- Duryard residences
- Hatherly lawns
The Students' Green Unit have also established a wildflower area, in collaboration with the Grounds Team, at the rear of Washington Singer.
Typical species found in wild flowering meadows include flowering bulbs eg narcissus and fritillaria , poppy, cornflower, nettle and orchids. Once established these attract wildlife such as rabbits and hares, foxes, butterflies, mice, voles, chaffinches, thrushes, frogs, bees, etc.
In addition to the wild flower meadow, a small area of chamomile lawn had been created at the side of Lafrowda steps.
Cumulatively the native and non-native plants on campus provide biodiversity and long flowering periods that contribute to 21 different habitats for insects, amphibians, birds and mammals to thrive in. In turn, this provides opportunities for a variety of student and research projects to be undertaken on the grounds. They also make a significant contribution to the biodiversity of Exeter and the South West.