Making a wildflower meadow is a fantastic way of supporting a whole host of species, from butterflies and bees to bats and birds.
It can be as simple as tweaking the mowing regime of your lawn. You never know what might already be there, waiting to flower if given a chance. Many a lawn or verge has had a rare orchid or two suddenly pop up when they are managed for wildflowers.
A first cut in March followed by a later one in September will allow time for the plants to flower and set seed, and raking off the cuttings afterwards will make space for new seedlings and can help prevent nutrients building up. Leaving a third of the lawn uncut at all times if possible will help leave cover for invertebrates over winter too. You can be creative with your mowing, making paths through the meadow and framing the area with a cut edge.
You can also supplement your lawn with native wildflower plugs and seed to give it a bit of an extra biodiversity boost. Making scrapes, by removing some of the grass and exposing bare soil will replicate the actions of gazing animals and give space for your plug plants and seed to establish. The key is to buy native plants which are suited to the light and soil conditions for the area you are managing.
If you don’t have a lawn you can still make a meadow by creating a wildflower area in your border or growing native wildflowers in pots. Many of our best species for pollinators thrive when grown this way.
Wild Flower Conservation Society- Brighton and Beyond, based at Stanmer Park, propagate native wildflowers from local ethically sourced seed. Plants are available to buy from their website below, which also has blogs on how to create wildflower meadows: https://www.wildflowerconservationsociety.com
Further information about making meadows is available on Plantlife’s Meadow Hub:
Brighton Downs Alliance
BHWF is a member of Brighton Downs Alliance, a group of 30+ organisations, experts and individuals campaigning for downland ecosystem restoration, community-led food growing and open, free public connection with the public downland of Brighton and Hove.
Save Our Starlings– Brighton’s Starlings are in serious decline. Brighton’s iconic murmuration could be gone by 2026. This is largely due to climate change, a lack of nesting opportunities and pesticides destroying the invertebrate life in our soils which they rely upon for food. BHWF is working with artists Louise McCurdy and Steve Geliot in their efforts to spread the message that our Starlings need our help and to find ways to improve the situation.
Word is getting out, a petition on change.org calling for the end of pesticide use on the Brighton Downs is now at over 150,000 signatures and climbing: https://www.change.org/p/brighton-and-hove-city-council-save-our-starlings
Louise made 100 nest boxes as part of their “Undercurrents” exhibition which ran February- March 2022 and told the story of our Starlings and their main predator the Peregrine Falcon. These boxes have been distributed around the city and put up in public places. Save Our Starlings are now making T shirts to fund further boxes and wider efforts to help Starlings in the city.
You can purchase on of these t-shirts via the link below:
“BHWF looks forward to a future where nature and our community live together to our mutual benefit, enabling our city to play its part in addressing the nature and climate crises.”