The Johnshill field used to be grazed by sheep but this changed in April 2009 when the meadow was established. Local man Donnie took the topsoil off, dug out some ponds and Johnstone High children helped sow the seed. A couple of years later the new path into Parkhill Wood was put in.
Over the past couple of years we have changed the mowing regime on the meadow by cutting it by scythe rather than strimming it. We scythe usually around September time when most of the plants have flowered but this depends on the weather. We allow the cut material to lie for a while to let the remaining seeds fall then rake and remove the material to keep the soil fertility low. The Ranger Service is helped by the Castle Semple Volunteer Group in doing this work.
We have had Himalayan Balsam coming onto the site so last year the Rangers blitzed it over several hand pulling sessions, luckily it is easy to come out. So far we have only had a handful of plants coming up which have already been dealt with.
Last year we also started to seed some more yellow rattle seed which was collected from the meadow along the path edge to try and extend the meadow area. We cut the grass back and created some bare earth patches to sow the seed. Yellow rattle is parasitic on grasses so hopefully this will keep the grass in check and allow the wildflowers to get a hold. This work will be ongoing over the coming years.
At the moment the meadow is awash with the combination of yellow, whites and reds of the ox eye daisy, birdsfoot trefoil, yellow rattle and sorrel. Soon the purples of the knapweed will take over.
If you want to create or find out how to make a meadow then look on Plantlife website which has lots of advice and tips.