How to create a wildflower meadow in your garden
Discover how to get your outdoor space buzzing with wildlife by creating a beautiful wildflower meadow.
How our Create a Buzz project is protecting pollinators.
It’s easy to miss these tiny creatures as they go about their short and busy lives, but without them we might not exist either.
“If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
A century ago, before the widespread use of fertiliser and pesticides, there were plenty of wildflowers lurking among the meadows, pastures and even crops for pollinators to visit. Today, the vast monocultures of wind pollinated crops and green pastures are effectively deserts for pollinating insects. Thanks to Create a Buzz, the National Wildflower Centre has added another five hectares of annual and perennial wildflower fields to the Eden estate, as well as bringing our road verges to life. They provide rich hunting grounds for pollinators, including our hives of Cornish black bees, and with the University of Exeter, the Create a Buzz research programme is using the fields to determine the best ways to lure them in.
Here at Eden, we’ve created a new trail for visitors that takes them from Bombus the Giant Bee to the new Pollinator Pathmaker (see pages 10–13). Younger visitors have also had the chance to explore wildflower names, discover how pollination works and singalong to songs about meadows and pollinators with ‘Musical Meadows’, a special series of Deep Roots New Shoots Music O’clock sessions.
As landscapes become increasingly fragmented by roads and construction projects, it becomes harder for pollinators to navigate their way to new sources of pollen and nectar. Insect populations become isolated and forced to inbreed, making them more vulnerable to disease and pests. Creating pollinator pathways helps to link up dispersed populations. Community-grown Buzz Stops are an easy way to help ensure that there’s plenty of food available for pollinators and encourage them to fly further afield. Urban gardens are thriving but gardens in rural areas are even more essential as pesticides and a lack of wildflowers make food scarce.
400 Buzz Stops have been created with the help of our friends at People & Gardens, who grew over 3,600 individual pollinator-friendly plug plants from organic pesticide-free seeds. They were distributed via food banks to local households, schools, community gardens, care homes and migrant worker communities along with instructions on how to care for them. Later this spring Eden apprentices will create a series of themed Buzz Stops at bus stops in the nearby Clay Villages, ranging from wildflower patches to moon gardens for night pollinators.
Following a successful trial with Roche Primary School, the Schools Team have launched a set of pollinator-friendly science lesson plans for KS2. They encourage children to explore and develop their understanding of science and nature and consider creating their own Pollinator Pathmaker garden.