Wildflower seed is now widely sown on roundabouts, roadsides, park borders and many sites which once were the preserve of annual bedding plants such as wallflower, pansies and begonias, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).
It has to be admitted some of the displays are easily as stunning as annual bedding.
Much of the reason for this change in policy is the decline of pollinators such as bumblebees,honey bees and hoverflies.
Without the services of these insects many of our crops would suffer very poor yields.
You would think the last folk who would complain about wildflower borders are the botanists, our wildflower experts. It certainly surprised me to hear a prominent botanist express frustration at such plantings.
It all boils down to “local provenance”.
Take this week’s photograph of a local wild cowslip.
Botanists worry that seed used in roadside planting may be from distant parts of the UK and the resulting cowslips may hybridise with local cowslips, diluting their ancient purity as locally evolved strains.
Of course, though I use cowslips as an example, the same applies to all our wildflowers.
I can see their point, however we must also do all we can to help our bees and butterflies to recover from all the wrongs we have done them over the years.
Then maybe our own future will also be more secure?