Rona Charles – Senior Ecology Officer
As part of Ryedale Folk Museum’s Harvest Celebrations last weekend, the Cornfield Flowers Project cut and collected the wheat crop from the cornfield at the Museum. Project staff and volunteers used traditional scythes to cut the corn, together with the seeding wild flowers that grew with it. The corn was then gathered into sheaves and stacked into stooks to dry. With the Museum’s Iron Age round house as the backdrop (that’s the pyramid like shape) and no man-made sound other than the swish of the scythe blade, this was a timely reminder for visitors of how different most rural life is now!
The Cornfield Flowers Project aims to return arable flowers like the Corn marigold and Cornflower (some still flowering in the Museum field at the weekend) to the edges of willing farmers’ fields. Here the flowers will be avoided by the application of modern herbicides but there is no need for them to be avoided by modern harvesting machinery. Fortunately scythes aren’t compulsory for the conservation management of cornfield flowers.