The Churchyard is much more than a garden beside the church. It can be a space of quiet reflection, an ancient landscape, a habitat for rare plant and animal species, a space full of archaeological and historical information as well as an appropriate setting for the church building. All of these aspects have been increasingly recognised for their importance. However, a churchyard, whether open or closed, is primarily a consecrated place set aside for burials and grieving, remembering and commemorating the dead.
Nationally, churchyards are among the most important wildlife habitats and can be a sanctuary for rare plants and animals. While managing a churchyard in such a way to provide for wildlife needs careful planning and a little more work than for a domestic garden the results can be highly valuable. As well as providing refuge for many species of flora and fauna, a well-managed churchyard will also be enhanced by the presence of more flowers, butterflies and birds.
Please take time next time you are near St. Mary's Rectory and take a look at the wildflower meadow across the front (it used to be a lawn you know) while the cornflowers andpoppies are at their best - you can view some photos on the Rectory Garden tab.
Because from the pavement the Rectory garden does not look much we would like to try to explain what we are planning for the garden and show it off ready for demonstrating what can be done should we be able to extend the idea for the churchyard at large.
The plan is to establish a wildlife friendly environment throughout the open areas surrounding our Church. To illustrate what can be done, seeds of 20 different wildflowers have been sown on the rectory garden. Yellow rattle was sown to keep the vigour of the grasses at bay to allow the wildflowers to thrive and to create an area to attract butterflies and bees.
This autumn we intend to shake some yellow rattle seed heads around the graveyard in preparation for establishing the wildflowers around the church building next summer.