Last year my wild flowers, encouraged from existing wild species, from clearing evasive monster weeds, and removal of strangling meadow grasses, was in just five minutes destroyed by the hedge trimmer. Good intentions to keep the meadows tidy, but hang on a minute – outside my patch! My overgrown meadow, yet to become a garden has not been cut for a year. After bramble clearing the sun, rain and nature caused sleeping seeds to rise and flourish. An excited neighbouring bullock escaped under the blue string, a two year old bored with hey and chomping meadow grasses, and lost himself in my wild flower “meadow” garden. Like a cow on cocaine he couldn’t get enough. But that is not profitable or practicable. The escapee was quickly captured and sent back. Three more escapes and the blue string was replaced. The rest of the afternoon, the young bullock looked secretly smug. But my challenge is to create my garden, attend to the wild-flowers and learn about my neighbours priorities. I do not wish to be a townie in the country and its time to educate myself. [Article on meadows and wild-flowers].
I read an interesting article today from Plantlife about the risk of planting generic seed mixes to save the bees, to be seen as doing your bit for nature. The article raised an issue that we have seen in the rise of amateur bee-keeping, urban bee-keeping in fact. With an ever increasing wish to encourage bees, the rise and rise of the urban bee hive has left many bees in a plight of starvation with the concrete landscape insufficient for their needs. But in the process people are learning. There is a fine balance between encouraging the support of nature and creating projects and a life style that emanates from a love and respect of nature, to alienating through hi-brow academia that underrates enthusiasm and belittles the well meaning. Yes its good to plant wild-flower seeds, but yes we need more variety and more tailored to the habitat to be planted. As a start and to learn more have a look at Seedball.
Read the article, but more so the comments. Mechanical farming and herbicides have marginalized wild flowers, or in many cases, as seen in some of the meadows where I live, pushed them merely to roadsides, which are annually mowed and the hedges cut seemingly, ruthlessly low. However I am aware farmers have to make a profit, hedge trimming is necessary for access to fields, for harvesting, for safety on the lanes, but profit, subsidies have their environmental limits. Biodiversity 2020 encourages farmers to work with conservation and as a flower photographer, I support this.
The cornflowers are on the endangered list and that is a sad indictment of our times. These bright blue bursts of colour on the grain fields do not have a long life, but when they appear I am out with the camera. In only a couple of weeks they will be gone for another year, unless the farmer decides to eradicate entirely. Some farmers are growing cornflowers organically for use as edible flowers [Maddocks Farm in particular] and with the trend towards using flowers in drinks, desserts and cordials, this is another way of bringing value to your meadowland. A complex subject.