This May, wildflower enthusiasts from the Deddington Environment Network spent several enjoyable hours spotting wildflowers around the parish. The aim was to understand what wildflower species occur naturally on our grassy verges. Four trial sites Castle End Green; Goose Green; Windmill Street Green; Corner of St Thomas Street/Oxford Road; were left un-mowed during May allowing the wildflowers to bloom and set seed prior to mowing.
23 different wildflowers were spotted during the survey including: Daisy, Cow Parsley, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Creeping Buttercup, Doves-foot Cranesbill, Dock, Fox and Cubs, Dandelion, White Clover, Cats Ear, Forget me Not, Violet, Wood Speedwell, Persian Speedwell, Hedge Mustard, Meadow Buttercup, Germander Speedwell, Pink Campion, Common Nipplewort, Wood Avens, Cleavers, Clustered Dock and Bee Orchid.
Plantlife’s (Europe’s largest charity dedicated to wildflowers and other flora) Every Flower Counts methodology was used to survey the sites allowing us to gain a nectar score for each. Goose Green and Castle End Green gained the best results – the flowers we found at each site can support over 300 bees with the nectar they produce! A relatively rare and gorgeous Bee Orchid was also spotted at one of our sites! Despite this, all the sites we surveyed had less wildflowers than the national average.
Sadly 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s according to Plantlife. As well as looking pretty, wildflowers provide a crucial haven for wildlife with over 1,370 species of insect feeding on our common meadow plants as well as pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies. Across the UK there are 313,000 miles of rural road verge, and these could become crucial sanctuaries for wildflowers but most are not managed in a way that supports them. DEN is keen to look at what we could do in Deddington to maintain the flora we already have and support a greater array of wildflowers going forward. If you’d like to see wildflowers flourish locally please do get in touch.