As some-one who has been raising awareness of the plight of bees since 2008, one of the more recent gardening trends I have been most thrilled to see, is the inclusion of wildflowers - for example, wildflower areas in lawns.
My hope is that more and more people will take up this trend, so if you are thinking about it and you have a bit of space, here are my top 5 reasons why you should go ahead:
“Before the Second World War, meadows dripping with wildflowers and humming with insects would have been a familiar sight across lowland UK. But in recent years, over 95% of our lowland meadows have disappeared” – say the Wildlife Trusts.
You may not be able to create a full-scale meadow, but it’s obvious that a wildflower area offers far greater benefit to pollinators than a uniform grass seed lawn.
Don’t underestimate the importance of gardens! They cover over 1 million ha of land in Britain, so this means that collectively, what we do in our gardens really does matter.
Even if you only have a small space to spare, you can optimize the space by selecting a wildflower mix which includes knapweed, vetches, cornflowers and if possible, field scabious if you can. Speaking from experience, these wildflowers are good ‘generalists’ as they attract and help support a broad range of pollinators, and are long flowering, but when selecting wildflower seeds, do pay attention to your soil type and conditions (e.g. clay, sandy etc), and select appropriately.
By including a wildflower area in your lawn, you’ll be able to attract a greater variety of bees, butterflies, hoverflies and beetles.
If you have children, here is an experiment to try: once the flowers are in bloom, take a plastic hoop, place it in the wildflower area, then count the variety of invertebrates seen in a day. Move the hoop to different habitats over a period of a few days and again, record what is seen, then compare the results.
Wildflower meadows are so few and far between these days, we’ve almost
forgotten how beautiful wildflowers are!
It’s a shame! They help to add a soft,
relaxed, informal dimension to a garden.
Here is an example of meadow planting at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire, England.
Fortunately these days you can buy wildflower seeds in relatively small quantities, perfect for a small patch-sized plot, and with mixtures to suit a variety of soil types, including clay or sandy soils, as well as shady areas.
For further inspiration.......
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