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Dunnington Parish Council

Wildflowers in your garden

We hope residents are enjoying the new wild flower beds opposite the play park and congratulate all of you who are growing wild flowers in your gardens.

Thanks to everyone for the photos of your patch – please keep sending them in or tell us where you are and we’ll take a photo for our wild flower gallery.

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We noticed that some residents took part in Plantlife’s “NoMowMay” which encourages people to leave part or all of their grass for wildlife. If a lawn has been regularly sprinkled with fertilisers and weed killers over the years the number of species that appear will be limited, but if you don’t use the ‘weed ‘n feed’ on parts of it then over several years, as the fertility of the soil declines, more species of plant will emerge, along with increasing numbers of insects. In smaller plots it is probably advisable to control some of the more dominant species such as nettle, thistle or the native hogweed to give more delicate plants the chance to survive. These ‘undesirables’ can simply be pulled up at an early stage. If you are worried that this might make your garden look neglected, trimming the edge of the lawn and cutting paths through the grass or simply having a patch in one area will help to make the plot look managed. Soon you will be able to enjoy seeing birds such as blackbirds and sparrows foraging in the longer grass, while goldfinches will pull apart the seed heads of some of the grasses and flower species

Or you might prefer to plant your wildflowers or other species beneficial to pollinators in flower beds, pots or window boxes, also providing benefits to wildlife. Pots of wild flowers on paving slabs or on gravel paths will also attract bees and other insects and will be a cheery sight for residents on their walks round the village.

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With the effects of climate change becoming more evident, whether it be record temperatures, wildfires or floods, it is more important than ever that we all take steps to try to reduce the impact on wildlife. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are now encouraging people to leave some of their garden in a less managed state. Increasing numbers of local councils are reducing the cutting of verges to help wildlife. If we all take some action, we will be helping to preserve the sight and sound of insects and the species that depend on them for future generations.

It’s easier than you think – here’s a simple project. Sprinkle wild flower seeds in a seed tray and keep watering. Soon you will have a lot of plants but wait until the growth is quite thick and resembles a turf of grass. Lift the whole lot out carefully and plant as one or two pieces of turf in your new wild flower bed.

For those of you who want to do it properly, here are some helpful sites.