Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Did you know that 97% of British wildflower meadows have been destroyed since the 1930's? That is an alarming statistic! But, think about it, when was the last time you frolicked through poppies and cornflowers as high as your waist? If you're my generation, you won't have even thought about this being strange, because the possibility has never been available to you.
This is largely due to changes and the increase in farming. Before the Second World War, we needed to grow food for around 16 million people. That has now grown to over 40 million. That means a lot of meadowland, woodland, and other countryside has been put under the plough. Pesticides, and other such chemicals, haven't helped matters either. We can't go back, and leave people starving, but these changes have come at a cost.
There has been a huge knock on effect for our wildlife. Without their natural habitats much of our flora and fauna are disappearing. For example, more than 20 species of bees have already become extinct, and wildflowers are vanishing at a rate of one species per year. This means trouble for us, as around 70% of our crops are reliant on bees for pollination. Without them, we'd be pretty hungry.
Agricultural schemes encouraging farmers to leave borders and spaces for wild plants and life are helping turn around the decline, but you can do you bit too by sowing wildflower seeds, planting lavender (which bees love) and growing pollinator plants in your own garden.
I've spent a few beautiful sunny days lying out by our small garden meadow drawing these colourful flowers. They bring a smile to my face every day. And they are now covered in life, including all sorts of bees. The honeybees seem to like the cornflowers best.
I'm going to get these made up into some greeting cards, so check back soon for prices and availability.
Royal Horticultural Society
Great British Bee Count
British Bee Keepers Association