Meadow explores the intimate and complex relationship between people, place and plants which, over many centuries, has shaped the colour and character of the classic hay meadows of the British Isles. The surviving hay meadows of the British Isles are an intrinsic part of our cultural heritage, representing a natural equivalent to our great churches, castles, and ancient standing stones. Those that remain provide a tantalising glimpse into the past to a time long before chemical fertilisers and herbicides robbed our grasslands of all their treasures; they are biodiversity hotspots, offering home and sanctuary to flora and fauna.
In this book, Iain Parkinson has carefully curated a fascinating collection of personal and evocative accounts shared by notable meadow experts from the world of science, conservation and the arts. The complex story of a hay meadow is told by the people whose lives are entangled within its intricate web, and in Meadow we hear over 30 first-person accounts touching on everything from wildflower and grassland restoration, basketmaking and weaving, pollinators and birdlife, water and soil, to hedgelaying, grazing, and archaeology. Beautifully illustrated with photographs specially taken by Jim Holden, Meadow is not only an insightful guide that helps to reveal the secret life of the flora and fauna of our classic hay meadows, but it also acts as a long-overdue celebration of the people behind these enigmatic grasslands.
Iain Parkinson is Living Collections and Conservation Manager at Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in the heart of the High Weald of Sussex. He began his early career in the woodlands, but with a love for the colourful and patterned beauty of nature, it was inevitable that he would fall under the spell of the classic hay meadow.
Jim Holden pursued a photography career in newspapers straight from school before going freelance in 2008. His use of light and talent for composition coupled with a rare ability to capture effortlessly natural-looking subjects has attracted a top list of commercial, editorial and PR clients including Kew Gardens and English Heritage.