Time to play, relax, let your mind wander ... and notice the wildflowers?
Updated: Jun 5, 2020
Yippee it’s half-term! Time to play, time to relax, time to let your mind wander, time to notice some wild flowers?
Next time you go out for a walk, can you spot any little wildflowers? They can brighten up the pavement, cheer up the brickwork, provide a splash of colour to the verges, and dance around at the foot of the hedges.
Your challenge this week is to notice as many wildflowers as you can. Which colours can you find – vibrant yellow, moody purple, bright white, bold blue, and if you’re lucky maybe a lively pink? How many petals do they have? How do they smell?
Can you find out the names of the wildflowers you have seen? Remember that pollinators like bees and butterflies need the wildflowers, so please don’t pick them. Maybe you could borrow your parent / carer’s phone and take a photo of them as you spot them, and look them up when you get back home? There are over 1,100 different types of wildflowers in the UK, and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find out what the plants are called – we think this website has the easiest identification index www.nativeflowers.co.uk – it helpfully narrows down the selection to those that are generally blooming at this time of year, and shows easily identifiable pictures of flowers.
Remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON when you have completed this flower-power challenge! Please do send us any photos that you take!
Sometimes people think of wildflowers growing in the cracks in the pavement as ‘weeds’ – but maybe we could change our ‘mindset,’ our way of looking at them – and view them as a lifeline to bees and insects – a source of nectar and pollen. In 2017, France banned the use of pesticides in parks, streets and other public places – leading to a surge in wildflowers. A French botanist (a botanist is someone who studies plants) has set up the ‘More Than Weeds’ campaign https://morethanweeds.co.uk. She lives in Hackney in London and has been allowed to use chalk on the pavements to label wildflowers . She is encouraging other councils to allow the same…maybe soon you’ll be able to teach others about wildflowers too?
Climate Change, as we know, is causing problems for much of our natural world. Two aspects are having a particular impact on our wildflowers. Firstly, as temperatures rise in the UK, wildflowers are moving northwards, however this can be difficult when flowers are found in small ‘fragmented’ areas, or where they reach the northernmost boundary – for example the coastline of Scotland. The second concern is the increasing prevalence of droughts – this is making it more difficult for short-lived, short-rooted wildflowers to survive. An increase in long-rooted varieties of wildflowers has already been noted.
Wildflowers are beautiful and help provide habitats that buzz with life, providing food for pollinators and birds. Remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON when you have learnt more about wildflowers growing near your home. Please do send us any photos that you take!