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American prairie landscape thriving in Sussex

Published on 2023-06-03 09:00:18 source:NBC News

A North American prairie landscape has been recreated on six acres of land in West Sussex.

Horticulturists at Wakehurst, near Haywards Heath, collected 12 million seeds and hand-planted 50,000 seedlings to transform the site.

One year on from the start of planting, and the landscape has been transformed into a field of gold.

"I'm very happy to see what's here," said Larry Weaner, a prairie expert who has worked on the project.

"The future of this meadow though are the little tiny plants that are coming along underneath what will replace these plants," he added.

The project has been a slow process, as first the ground needed to be prepared and left as fallow.

New plants were then sown in layers to give each variety a chance to establish, before the next one was introduced.

It is expected to take another two or three years before the land fully develops its true prairie characteristics.

Many of the seeds were wild-collected in North America by Kew scientists, and include varieties such as rattlesnake master, purple coneflower and Indian plantain.

The project has been created to demonstrate the importance of grasslands to our climate.

They act as natural carbon sinks, as well as providing an ecosystem for pollinators.

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