Making space for wildflowers and pollinators
Over the last 75 years 97% of Pennine wildflower meadows have been lost to development and changes in farming practice, consequently insect and pollinator populations have declined dramatically too.
By changing the way recreational greenspaces and roadside verges are managed valuable habitat can be created for wildflowers, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Short mown or grazed grass has limited value.
Addingham Environment Group started conversations with landowners around the village and we now have the seven wildflower and pollinator patches and margins in development. Their location is shown on the map below.
The Parish Council, Bradford Council Parks & Countryside and the Churches involved now leave the grass to grow over the summer so wildflowers can set seed, and insects, birds and mammals can enjoy the habitat. Where necessary Environment Group volunteers help with raking off the grass after a late summer/early autumn cut. Taking off the cuttings helps wildflowers to thrive as they do best in low nutrient conditions.
Patience is needed, but our wildflower margins and pollinator patches are gradually becoming more colourful and diverse.
By changing the way we mow our lawns, we can make room for wildflowers and benefit pollinators in our gardens too.
Research by Plantlife shows that reducing how often you cut can make a big difference.
- By only cutting your lawn every four weeks, you give short growing plants like Daisies, White clover and Selfheal the chance to flower and boost nectar production.
- If you can leave some areas of longer unmown grass as well that is even better. Tall-grass nectar rich species like Ox eye daisy, Red clover, Field scabious and Knapweed grow upright and take longer to reach flowering size, so can’t cope with being cut off regularly, and will only bloom in grass that’s not been mown for several months or more. These wildflowers increase the range of nectar sources for different pollinators and extend nectar availability into late summer.