I do understand the basic concept of a wildflower meadow – and the fact that we have lost nearly all of our meadow space over time as our cultivation of the land has increased. However, what kinds of flowers make up meadows? Why are we trying to reclaim them? Am I helping my butterfly population if I allow the mess of grass and strange, straggly looking plants that currently reside in our fields to stay there, even if I hate how messy it looks? And at what point does deciding what to plant turn it from wildflower to cultivated garden?
Many questions, many answers (thank you, internet). It seems you can have your traditional meadows that have grass in them, if you’re feeling particularly nostalgic and traditional. Or for a more ‘visual’ effect, mixes without grass can be planted that are (obviously) more colourful. Ok. Makes sense. But, as I try to work out what various mixes of seeds will look like, the thought also crosses my mind that buying a packet of chosen ‘wildflower’ seeds is something of a paradox. Or at least ironic, depending on how dramatic you want to be.
So I decided to see what was native to my area of North Wales, this being one of the key ideas about creating a meadow, especially if it’s done for conservation reasons. The list was full of exciting names like Scarlet Pimpernel (love a literary reference) and Greater Celandine. The slightly more dubiously named ‘Stinking Hellebore’ and ‘Bladder Campion’ also made an appearance. So far so good. But then, not only were nettles included (it is a constant battle and I swear they have increased in viciousness since we’ve started getting rid of them. A war of attrition indeed) but also… dandelions.
I dislike dandelions, with their fluffy seeds that you know are going to go everywhere that you don’t want them to, their annoying habits of finding whatever crack they can and then planting their roots so tight you can’t pull them out, their ugly yellow flowers. So I’m sorry nature, butterflies and bees. You may like them, but I still think a dandelion is a weed, no matter where. And it’s not going in my wildflower meadow, irony notwithstanding.NB . You can buy your dandelion seeds from JustSeed Limited (for your pets too). https://justseed.com/products/wfdan001 https://justseed.com/products/bluv297003