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A Treasury Of Flowers

A Treasury of Flowers

wild flowersOut walking recently between Deanshanger and Whaddon Peter and I found that we were crossing a field chock full of wildflowers. At first glance it was a dry and rather scruffy looking field – not the sort of idealised thing you see in artists’ drawings. We trundled along through the path the farmer had considerately left for walkers and it took us a few minutes to realise that this field was different. … What alerted us was the sound of happy bees and they sounded as if they were very cheerful.

Looking across the field we could see snatches of a purple plant, some sort of mallow. But on closer inspection we found lots of different varieties – vetch, clover, pink and white bladder campion, oxeye daisies, poppies, meadowsweet, field plantain, yarrow and a good few others I recognise but can’t name. It was astonishing. We’d stumbled across a little floral treasure trove 15 minutes’ walk from the Butterfly Loft.

It was wonderful to see that the farmer had allowed the wildflowers to grow there. We need more wildflower meadows. There was a sharp decrease in the variety of British wildflowers in the twentieth century because of changes in agricultural policy and practice, particularly increased field drainage and herbicide use, and the growth of urban sprawl.

Fortunately, over the past 20 years, renewed interest in wildflower habitats has grown with concerns for biodiversity protection and augmentation. Coupled with this concern has been increasing interest in the restoration of old, mismanaged wildflower meadows and the creation of new meadows through, for example, agricultural set-aside programmes and other countryside stewardship schemes. Allowing open habitats such as wildflower meadows in urban settings for the provision of native or naturalised grasses, wildflowers and flowering plants allows plant diversity which attracts insects and other invertebrates (including butterflies, bees, spiders and millipedes), birds and mammals. It also adds colour and interest. Flowering species add a changing palate of colour to the urban environment throughout the seasons.

We are very fortunate in Milton Keynes in that quite a few areas are changing their traditional shaved grass approach to mowing. In Stony Stratford, for example, great swathes of the Mill Field are managed to allow more wildflower growth. (Little dogs love getting lost in it too!)

wild flowers

Many organisations are actively cultivating wild flowers, such as Westbury Arts Centre at Shenley Wood and The Parks Trust in Stonepit Field and the BSI wildflower meadow near Linford Wood.

Birds, bees and butterflies love wildflowers and so do we! Join us at The Butterfly Loft and enjoy our beautiful fields and flowers. Booking accommodation in Milton Keynes couldn’t be easier. Visit our contacts page to check availability and make your reservation.

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