What not to expect
We will not be using seed mixes such as that pictured below. Whilst initially pretty to look at, these mixes have limited benefit for nature. Some of the issues with the use of these seed mixes are outlined below:
- These are annual mixes which require renewing each year, which involves repeated use of herbicide, soil disturbance and re-seeding. The use of herbicide should always be avoided when possible. This method is unsustainable in the long term.
- The large majority of the brightly coloured species in annual seed mixes are non-native species which would not naturally occur in NPT (or even in the UK!). This can displace the distinctive native wildflowers which are already in the seed bank and erode the wonderful local distinctive wildflower diversity which we are lucky enough to have in NPT. Non-native species can even become highly invasive if introduced in the wrong place, causing a significant pressure to the local biodiversity.
- Many of our special pollinators are limited in range and specially adapted to feed from specific plants. Pollinators thrive on the flowers which are native to the same region as they are i.e. those to which they are best adapted. Introducing seed mixes containing species that are not generally found in that region therefore can have little to no benefit to the native pollinators of that region.
Therefore, our aim is to encourage the native seed bank to flourish through a change in management. This is the most sustainable method of increasing the area and extent of wildflower grasslands in NPT. You will often be surprised by what pops up, such as the orchids which appeared in this verge in Longford when mowing was paused due to COVID lockdown restrictions!