Wild flowers at the Community Garden

A mix of wild flowers in flower

Nature can be a wonderful teacher when we stop to observe the processes involved. After the construction of the paths using hard-core at the garden there were areas of disturbed earth with no plants left.

Nature abhors a vacuum as the adage goes, so the areas would quickly be colonised by a variety of annual, biennial and perennial species whose seeds had lain dormant in the soil. This growth would have flourished as part of the natural systems unless human intervention was brought to bear.

This was the case on one side of the path where a wild flower mix was sown, the mix comprised Corn Marigold, Ox-Eye Daisy, Cornflower and Poppy.

In the areas which were just left, a wide range of species germinated, Ox-Eye Daisy, Corn Marigold, Scentless Mayweed, Pineapple scented Mayweed, Fumitory, Field Knotweed, Red Dead Nettle, Opium Poppy, Hemp Nettle, Purple Toadflax, Vetches and Pink Campion.
There was also a large range of the less desirable weeds which appeared such as Docks, Nettles, Sow and Creeping Thistle, Fat Hen, Sticky Willy, Shepherds Purse and others too many to mention.

In Nature all of these species would compete with each other and through a process known to Ecologists as Succession and Climax, eventually disappear and be replaced by the more aggressive perennial species. If this process were to continue uninterrupted the areas would eventually become woodland.

With the help of PLANT volunteers however, this natural process can be manipulated so that the undesirable species can be rogued out so that the eventual effect can be selected in order to enhance the local biodiversity and attract invertebrates which will act as pollinators and pest predators.

Lastly, the wild flower most admired which arose from the churned, disturbed earth also serves to remind us of a poignant part of our history, the red field Poppy.

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