Wildflowers are a beautiful sight to behold. Their charming names, scents and colours add true character to the great outdoors. They directly impact nature and wildlife in many ways. Some even have medicinal properties!
Some of the UK wildflowers are native to the country; this means that they have not been cultivated or modified by artificial breeding or selection. They naturally appear in meadows, forests and gardens throughout the year.
Some common wildflowers you may know are Bluebell, Cowslip, Dog Rose, Foxglove and Snowdrop. You can find out more about each type of wildflower through the Woodland Trust website.
If you are keen to learn more about the brilliant wildflowers you see and how you can help make a difference, then read on.
Native wildflowers help maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Wildflowers have a variety of benefits; they not only help the surrounding wildlife but also help the environment. Established wildflower meadows form complex root systems that make the soil beneath them stable. This reduces the loss of nutrients when there is heavy rainfall.
When nutrients from loose soil get washed into water systems, they cause excess growth of algae. This is called ‘eutrophication’. The increased algae growth can have harmful effects on marine life as it will use up a lot of the oxygen in the water. This discourages and kills off marine life, which then begins to take a toll.
Wildflowers are also great providers of food for insects. Their leaves, pollen, nectar and seeds all get consumed by insects who in return pollinate the flowers. When the wildflowers are pollinated, they develop seeds and can grow even more. Their variety of shapes and colours are attractive to pollinators too, such as bumblebees. With the decline of Bumblebees, there is a lot of effort being put in place to encourage wildflower growth.
Encouraging the continuous life cycle of insects works as a domino effect as it then allows the cycle of life to continue.
Why are native wildflowers are at risk?
There has been a recent surge in invasive non-native wildflowers which has negatively impacted UK native wildflowers.
The issues that come with non-native species are that they bring diseases, compete for water & space with native wildflowers and insects choose to pollinate the non-native flowers instead. Non-native wildflowers dominate their environment therefore, are hard to remove. They discourage the growth of native wildflowers.
The two wildflowers will quite often crossbreed which also interferes with the native species who have existed and grown over the many years. This makes certain types of native wildflowers hard to find.
With the decreases in native wildflower population already, it is concerning to know that they will be further in decline if no action is taken.
How to help native wildflowers.
If you would like to help with the native wildflower population growth, that is great! There are many things you can do to actively help, these include:
- Donating to a wildflower charity such as Plantlife and the National Trust. You can even show your support by visiting local wildlife meadows, here is how to find one near you.
- Growing your own wildflower patch. It is recommended that you leave some areas of your lawn uncut too so that wildflowers have the chance to grow. Find out more about growing yours here.
- Setting up bug hotels in your garden. Insects love to pollinate wildflowers and this will help the wildflowers spread! Here is how to make a DIY Bug hotel.
- Sprinkling wildflower seeds in your garden or urban spaces. Learn more about Guerrilla Gardening here.
We hope this blog has helped give you some valuable insight into wildflowers and how you can help the native species flourishing.
Here at Garden Supplies, we provide all of the essentials for your garden, paddocks and other outdoor spaces. We are always happy to provide any information you may need, so please feel free to get in touch with us to see how we can help.