Why ‘messy’ wildflower meadows are great for wildlife
We often debate which cleaning product is better for keeping germs at bay, and how Feng the Shui of our homes should be. And sometimes our thoughts and wishes for everything to be clean and pristine are carried into the natural world.
I’ve had countless discussions with people who think “it’s lovely to see the grass cut and neat” or “that lawn is pristine, it’s just like a golf course”. Sadly, while they are neat and tidy, they are also artificial and limited in animal and plant species.
Wildflower meadows are sometimes undervalued because they look untidy compared to a formal flowerbed, but the amount of life they can sustain is incredible.
A true meadow consists of native species with a mix of sizes and flowering times, and a large variety of grasses swaying in the wind as if they are being led by a maestro.
Part of this is due to companies advertising non-native plants in a mass of floral beauty. This is an artificial situation. Many of these plants will only last one season as they are not adapted to our soils and climate.
A true meadow consists of native species with a mix of sizes and flowering times, and a large variety of grasses swaying in the wind as if they are being led by a maestro. As well as being great food sources and places for mating, these meadows are also valuable cover for animals to raise their young.
Another problem is that having grown up with manicured parks. We have begun to think that was the norm and that it wouldn’t have an effect on our wildlife. This dangerous thinking is reason why we are seeing species in decline and why we are losing so many plants and animals permanently!
The species we are losing are contributors to natural decomposition, pest control and pollination. Simply put, they give us fertile soils, clean air and water, and food.
Cumbernauld Living Landscape will be out planting up wildflower meadows throughout the town in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for us and feel free to come over for a chat about why these areas are so important for wildlife.
Tracy Lambert, Project Officer