HUGS let the wildflowers grow

Letting the wildflowers grow
Nationwide, verges add up to an area the size of Dorset. A recent study by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Crowmarsh has called for the country’s roadside verges to be managed for nature.
Given that an area of grass with just dandelions can support 93 species of insect, there’s huge potential to support biodiversity. Verges are key for pollinators, in turn feeding birds and other animals.
And it’s not just verges. Larger unmown areas like the overflow cemetery and between the trees on the rec can do wonders for nature too. They’ve been buzzing with bees and brimming with butterflies for several weeks now.
In July or August, when the seeds of any wildflowers have dropped, we’ll cut the hay with scythettes and scrub-clearance tools, ted it (fluff it to allow it to dry) and rake it, then remove it. This will help set the seed for next year. If you’d like to join in, please email kieronhumph@gmail.com
Corridors, networks, mosaics – and a quilt
Say you left the verge outside your house to grow. What good would that do?
If it was the only untended verge, perhaps not a lot, but ecologists talk about the value of even very small amounts of wildlife-supporting habitat (known as ‘patches’) when they form part of a wider ‘network’ – all the wild and less wild green spaces in an area, like woodland, streams, scrub, parks
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and gardens. Invertebrates, birds and mammals can travel around the network safely when there are established ‘corridors’ such as hedges and verges.
When there are diverse habitats close to each other, for example grassland, woodland and wetland on a reclaimed quarry, that’s a ‘mosaic’ – important because some species need different environments for their life stages or routine activities.
And if the jargon leaves you cold, maybe think of all those untamed strips and corners as contributing to nature’s big, messy, beautiful and original patchwork quilt.
The HUGS team