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King’s College Cambridge to create wildflower meadow on its famous chapel lawn

A famous view of King’s College Chapel is to be transformed after gardeners and college fellows agreed to turn a manicured lawn into a wildflower meadow.

King's College, Cambridge (27645869)
King's College, Cambridge (27645869)

The college and chapel viewed from the Backs is one of the University of Cambridge’s – and the city’s – most well-known images. But this summer, visitors to the site can expect to see poppies, cornflowers, daisies and buttercups in the place of the green, which has been maintained since the 1720s.

Head gardener Steve Coghill said: “The thing about gardening in the 21st century is that you need to be able to justify what you are doing. Grass monocultures have their place in horticulture but biodiversity does too. And in a time of climate change and fear of loss of species it is becoming more important.

“We are taking over a third of the lawn, from the chapel to the River Cam, so it is a sizeable chunk.

“We are very lucky that we have a very forward-thinking garden committee and fellowship because you can only do these things if the college is in accord.”

The ‘keep off the grass’ signs will also come down as the flowers begin to bloom in May to allow visitors to enjoy the meadow.

King's College, Cambridge (27645896)
King's College, Cambridge (27645896)

Mr Coghill added: “When the meadow is flowering we will mow paths through it for people to walk over, which is a treat.

“Making wildflower meadows is something we have always enjoyed doing, but to have the opportunity to do it in such an iconic landscape is a once in a lifetime thing.

“Once it is all flowering it will be spectacular. There will be a riot of colour in the summer.”

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