Meadows, which were not grazed but allowed to grow tall and then mowed with a scythe for winter hay, were once common all over Norway. Today the unique habitat of the unfertilized meadow has become a rarity.
Flower meadows are usually very speciesrich, and along with the plant diversity follows an equal diversity of insects. Many butterflies, bees and bumblebees are dependent on such meadows. In order to maintain this habitat and its diversity, the meadow must be mowed regularly. After mowing, raking and drying the hay, the meadow is not fertilized. A proper flower meadow is poor in nutrients, but rich in species.
A flowering meadow
Our meadow is not natural – the area was actually a fertilized lawn until 2012. At that time, the rich lawn soil was removed and replaced by meager soil, sand and gravel. Seeds are collected from meadows in nearby regions and propagated here, and the resulting diversity is representative for the traditional, local meadows. The meadow was expanded in 2018.
Chemical fertilizers, tree planting, afforestation, tractors and grass seeding have led to a decline in traditional meadows. Grazing is often used instead of mowing to keep the area open, but the animals have a very different effect on the plants. Their manure is a feast for a few, nutrienthungry species, and they soon take over and dominate where there used to be myriads of flower species who made do with much less nutrition.