Monday, 14 May 2012

Is a wildflower meadow like a lawn with weeds in?

I was honoured to be asked to chat to Ken Crowther about Meadowmat on BBC Radio Essex this afternoon.  Well, honoured and very VERY nervous. Happily the team there are used to neurotic people like myself and I was soon put at ease.  So much so that my allotted 20 minute spot passed very quickly indeed.

Meadowmat, a great way to create wildlife habitat
Ken's first question was "Is meadowmat just turf with weeds in it?" and in all fairness, I'm sure plenty of people, including my beloved husband, would say tha it is.  After all, if some of the plants in my meadowmat were to spring up in my lawn, I'd probably do my best to eradicate them.  But, a weed is simply a wild flower in the wrong place, and in the right place, they're beautiful both visually and ecologically.

200 years ago, if there was such a thing as Meadowmat, it would probably have been regarded as a poor-man's medicine cabinet....I'm kicking myself for not saying that earlier.  Wild flowers have been used to produce herbal remedies for centuries with their recipes being handed down from generation to generation.  Funny how modern technology has all but killed off traditional skills...but that's a whole other argument.

wild flowers and bees are inter-dependant
Wild flowers evolved alongside pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies and as a result, they're interdependant.  Flowers need bees, bees need flowers. Simple as.  And as Ken and I discussed, vast quantities of ancient wild flower meadows have been lost since the second world war; modern farmers need to concentrate on food production, road verges are not always managed for the full benefit of wild flowers and so gardeners are the people who are best placed to help re-create and care for wild flower meadows --- no matter what size----to help support UK wildlife.

So is Meadowmat like garden turf with weeds in?  I think not. Meadowmat is a wild flower meadow on a roll and it makes the important task of rebuilding our population of wild flowers and pollinating insects into an absolute joy. Garden turf is a joy too...for what is a garden if it doesn't have a lawn?
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