Image of New wildflower areas have been planted in Library Court
New wildflower areas have been planted in Library Court

Library Court redesign to benefit biodiversity

New wildflower areas will soon be in bloom and buzzing with bees as part of a remodelling of Library Court.

A mini wildflower meadow surrounded by pleached lime trees plus a number of wildflower beds have been installed in a boost for biodiversity.

The College's first wildflower lawn in North Court was sown in 2020 using seeds harvested from King’s College’s iconic wildflower lawn on The Backs. It features corn marigolds, corncockles, poppies and cornflowers - creating a mini ecosystem for insects and other invertebrates.

Species monitoring of the King's meadow showed it succeeded in bolstering biodiversity and was more resilient than lawn to our changing climate. Dr Matt Wilkinson, chair of the College’s Gardens Committee, was one of the authors of that study and worked on the plans for the redesign of Library Court. The North Court meadow has likewise been a haven for pollinators, butterflies as well as numerous smaller insects.

Library Court has been sown using a mix of seeds harvested from the King's and North Court meadows, in addition to some new varieties.

Lee de Grammont, Head of Grounds and Gardens said: "We're doing all we can to promote biodiversity and to benefit the environment and this scheme has been specifically designed with that in mind. By mid-summer it will be in bloom and, as the weeks go by, it will offer a changing palette of colours.”

Other new features include mown grass pathways to allow people to walk among the wildflowers, an avenue of white climbing David Austin roses that will be trained over the archways behind Chapel Court and a meandering path crossing Library Court to the back of East House.

The gravelled area behind East House has also been redesigned to create a vista to Library Court with the planting of multi-stemmed birch trees, beech hedging and a variety of other trees.

In Autumn, the Gardens team will be oversowing the meadow to introduce new varieties of wildflower. 

Lee continued: “During the warmer months, Library Court is widely used by our students for studying so we wanted this to continue to be a useable, attractive space where they can read or revise for assessments.

“I’d like to thank everyone on the College Committees who assisted with bringing this scheme to life as well as the Maintenance Department and our external partners on this project; Paul Vonberg Architects, Abco Construction and Oakes and Watson tree surgeons.”