The last entry in our “Advantages of a Wildflower Meadow” series focuses on birds & mammals. From small seed loving birds such as Yellowhammers to glorious and spectacular Red Kites not forgetting field mice, voles and more importantly humans.
We’re back to the food-chain again. Wildflowers produce nectar, an abundant supply of nectar loving invertebrates (including butterflies, bees, spiders and millipedes) provide birds such as our native Finches, Sparrows, Yellowhammers and Linnets with plenty of food for their young during the summer.
It also means that summer visitors such as House Martins, Swifts and Swallows will be more likely to successfully rear offspring, and there’s nothing more nostalgic than seeing these amazing avians sweeping across meadows and fields in the warmth of the summer sun.
Like it or not we have to accept that large healthy populations of small birds and small insect and seed feeding mammals also feed our native raptors; Tawny Owls, Long Eared Owls, Sparrow Hawks, Buzzards & Kites.
What are the advantages to humans?
To begin with, wildflowers are very important to us as humans as they help maintain a healthy eco-system. for example, the insects attracted to the wildflowers help to fertilise the crops we grow to eat. When analysed closely, there emerges a substantial symbiotic relationship within a wildflower meadow that needs to be maintained.
Wildflowers are also very useful for the home gardener as they can be used in parts of the garden which are difficult to cultivate conventionally either because the ground slopes steeply or the soil is poor. Native wildflowers have naturally adapted themselves to suit difficult situations in order to survive.
Wildflower meadows have so many benefits that they need to be actively grown to ensure our future health and well-being. To do this successfully all that’s needed is a little bit of management and a beautiful meadow will thrive and a healthy balanced eco-system can be maintained.
Advantages to communities:
FACTS (according to the Forestry Commission)
- Flowering species add a changing palate of colour to the urban environment throughout the seasons
- Active involvement of the local community in managing the site encourages ownership values to be fostered – activities may range from mowing to the collection of seeds for use at a new location or for sale.
- Opportunities for education and recreation abound (ranging from nature studies to art lessons).
- Even small plots of wildflower planting can change the feel of a setting, so that the creation of a wildflower meadow as part of an urban green-space can bring a little piece of countryside into the town.
So all in all there are many advantages to a wildflower meadow, some not particularly to our taste, but certainly always to the benefit of the overall richness of our environment. So why not plan your wildflower meadow today, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the change it will bring to your garden or learning experience.