Wildflower Turf Ltd, Greener Places, Croda International.
Croda International create, make and sell speciality chemicals and are the name behind the high-performance ingredients and technologies in some of the biggest and most successful brands in the world. Croda’s international headquarters is based in Yorkshire at the impressive Cowick Hall, a Grade 1 listed, 17th-century Georgian country house.
Croda’s Biodiversity Team has a vision for their Cowick Hall site to be carbon neutral and a haven for indigenous species. In order to provide an area within the natural environment for employees and visitors to engage with, and benefit from, it was decided to enhance the sites biodiversity using wildflowers.
Initially the thought was to plant out a substantial area using wildflower seed and, after conducting some research, the Biodiversity Team contacted Wildflower Turf Ltd for assistance. Upon receiving details of Wildflower Turf Ltd Accredited Partners close to them, Croda International appointed Jim Staveley from Greener Places.
The brief from Croda was to create an area that would provide nectar sources to support bees and butterflies whilst also being visually impactful, enabling Croda employees to see, understand and engage with the biodiversity strategy for the Cowick Hall site.
As a first step, Greener Places conducted a half-day site visit and a number of potential meadow locations were assessed at this time.
After some deliberation, a grassed area at the rear of the staff restaurant was selected as being most suitable. The location has good access to water and is an area frequented by both employees and visitors alike.
Greener Places recommended laying turf in order to ensure that the wildflowers established quickly to provide maximum impact, while also alleviating the need for costly maintenance.
The turf recommended by Greener Places was Wildflower Landscape Turf, made up of 34 UK native wildflowers and grasses.
In terms of design, Greener Places created a bespoke template for Croda consisting of two wavy skirts of wildflowers. The design instinctively welcomes Croda employees and visitors to sit between the wildflower spectacle on a flat, grassed area, immersed in nature and able to enjoy the views afforded.
These two wildflower areas also cleverly give the impression of an elongated space and create a micro-climate for butterflies, bees and other insects.
On the first day of installation, Greener Places pegged out the area in question ensuring that the sweeping curves of the design were correctly administered. Weed control was the next step, with the area sprayed off using glyphosate. The following week saw the two areas designated for landscaping rotovated to remove existing debris.
Cultivated beds were then created and a total of 500m² of Wildflower Landscape 34, grown at Wildflower Turf Ltd’s northern site at Helperby, was laid into the two curved sections.
Following the laying of the turf, rain was elusive for a three-week period. Croda’s resident gardener ensured that the area was kept watered during this period and the turf has flourished as a result. The weather since has been friendlier, with periods of sunshine followed by rain ensuring that the ever-evolving wildflower meadow remains low-maintenance while also providing a stunning display of colour.
Croda have been thrilled with the response to this biodiversity project and are currently planning additional wildflower areas within their Cowick Hall grounds.
The wildflower meadow is within the eyeline of a footpath leading to a nature trail, and so perfectly placed to provide Croda employees with colour and interest while also seamlessly incorporating into the existing landscape design.
In addition to the beautiful wildflower design created by Greener Places, Wildflower Turf Ltd are in the process of working with Croda to supply an Interpretation Board which will allow Croda staff to identify and recognise the wildflowers on display.