This celebration of the UK’s wildflower meadows is a chance for us all to revel in these wonderful habitats. A single meadow can host over 100 species of wildflowers, such as cuckoo flower, yellow rattle, over twenty species of orchids, knapweed and scabious. Compare this to most modern agricultural pasture, which is likely to support less than 12 species. In turn, these flowers support meadow wildlife. Take common birds-foot trefoil - it’s a food source for 160 species of insects, which support mammals and birds such as skylarks and lapwing.
Yet meadows are catastrophically under threat, with 97% being lost since the 1930s. Yes, you did read that right. Meadows need all the special ‘days’ they can get.
Thankfully, awareness is rising about their importance, and growing numbers of people are stepping in to fight for them. Wildflower meadows are a key priority for us at Avon Wildlife Trust, and we have a myriad of projects designed to give them a boost.
Our Wild About Wildflowers challenge is a case in point. Supported by our partners, energy company Western Power Distribution, five local schools took a delivery last spring of 100 wildflower plants from our wildflower nursery, Grow Wilder. The vision was to transform parts of their play areas into flower-rich grasslands - and the good news is, it’s happened! Our Learning Team visited one of the participating schools recently and were bowled over at the sight of their thriving mini-meadow – it’s a haven for wildlife, and a valuable gift for a generation of local children.