Adams Bottom recreation ground is situated between the road Adams Bottom (to the right of Plantation Road, going north) and Heath Road; it can be reached from both roads.
Leighton Linslade Town Council approached South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth in 2013 to create a wildflower area in Adams Bottom off Heath Road, to try to emulate Clipstone Brook in Parsons Close by planting along the stream. There was an area of poor quality ground in the corner near the children’s playground that was suitable for planting wildflowers. There were three different areas: one by the pond, one along the stream and one by the wall at the Heath Road end.
In April 2014, volunteers from Waitrose, Spencer Rail and children from Heathwood Lower School helped to dig up the areas beside the wall and along the stream in preparation for planting wildflowers.
South Beds Friends of the Earth visited Heathwood School to give a presentation on bees, and since then the children from the school have produced large displays about bees, a play about bees, and they performed a bees waggle dance when the then Environment Minister, Lord De Mauley, came to visit Leighton in July 2014. They have also made poppies out of felt for the Remembrance Sunday services at Linslade Memorial Gardens.
We created survey sheets to help the children identify the main trees, shrubs and wildflowers at Adams Bottom.
For the wall area we used a Pictorial Meadows seed mix, with the addition of scabious, marjoram and primrose plants from the Community Tree Trust [get link]. We also planted crocuses for spring colour and nectar, but none came up – in other areas we have noticed that they have been lifted and eaten, so that may have been what happened here.
The marjoram began to establish well, but oxeye daisies and couch grass began to take over, as they have at a number of other sites round the town. Over time, marjoram, knapweed, St John’s wort, wild geranium, birds foot trefoil and scabious have established well. We keep plant stems through the winter as they provide valuable hibernation and nesting spots for earwigs, beetles, ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies, while the tussocky grass nearby provides shelter for bumble bees.
For the pond area, in 2014 we planted wild angelica, marsh marigold, water mint and hemp agrimony, but none of these survived as willow herb took over and much of the area dries out in the summer; however, Willow Herb is a good late summer nectar source for bees. The primroses by the edge of the pond that we planted are establishing. The marsh marigold we planted is quite spectacular! [oic]
We also planted wayfaring trees and spindle on the bank by the eastern boundary of the park which have survived and will increase biodiversity there.
The stream area has proved to be a real challenge The soil is very hard clay which dries out completely, which makes it hard to get wildflowers established. There is also a lot of couch and silverweed which smothers any wildflowers that do survive. We first planted the area in 2014 and then again in 2015. Some evening primrose, aquilega, and hedge woundwort have survived, and primroses have established and are doing well on the eastern side.
[when?] The only option to clear the couch grass roots was to dig up part of the stream banks. The Town Council kindly brought in their digger and helped to clear strip the banks of turf, though we left the first patch of the stream bank closest to Heath Road where the wildflowers were establishing well. We replanted the new area with [ ] It is always a challenge to establish wildflowers on stream and river banks; it took a long time to establish wildflowers at Clipstone Brook in Parsons Close due to nettles and grass smothering the plants.