Wildflower Meadow project
Our Wildflower Meadow Project started in 2019. It aims to restore and increase the amount of habitat available throughout the county for pollinators and wildlife.
We assessed several sites for their wildflower habitat potential and 21 sites were selected for our first-year pilot. There are now over 100 managed wildflower meadow sites that contribute to our improved species richness ambitions (including our 11 roadside nature reserves). These contribute to nearly 55 acres (which is about 35 football pitches) of native wildflower habitat.
This is part of our wider Bee Friendly campaign aimed at supporting the recovery of bees and other pollinators.
Where are the wildflower meadow sites?
There are wildflower meadow sites in:
View wildflower meadow sites in Denbighshire
How are the sites managed?
The sites are left uncut between March and August, except a small border mown around each site. This allows the flowers to set seed, and ensures that the meadow provides the greatest benefit to wildlife. At the end of the season, the whole site will be cut with specialist mowing equipment, and the cuttings will be removed. This will help to lower the richness of the soil, and create the low-nutrient ground that our native wildflowers and grasses need to thrive.
We may plant native wildflowers grown from local seeds or sow seeds collected from our other sites, to increase the species richness.
What does a wildflower meadow look like?
Wildflower meadows vary from site to site and usually contain a variety of native grasses and wildflowers. The wildflowers at our sites are mostly native perennial species, which return and flower each year. Wildflower meadows have a long flowering season and different species flower through the year.
Wildflower meadows sites are not pictorial meadows. Pictorial meadows are made up of mixes of plants and are often referred to as ‘wildflower meadows’. Usually pictorial meadows include many non-native species, and no grasses. Pictorial meadows provide less benefits to biodiversity and need regular, costly maintenance.
Wildflower meadow at County Hall (Ruthin)
The following images show the progress of the Wildflower meadow at County Hall (Ruthin).
The wildflower meadow in year 1 shows grasses as the dominant species.
The wildflower meadow in year 2 shows native wildflower species, such as oxeye daisy, common knapweed and red campion, beginning to appear.
The wildflower meadow in year 3 shows native wildflower species, such as oxeye daisy, common knapweed and red campion, starting to dominate over grass species.
Types of wildflowers
There are many native wildflowers (flowers that naturally grow at these locations) to look out for. These will vary depending on the location and the time of year.
Visit plantlife.org.uk to see which native wildflowers you can expect to find (external website)
Why do we need more wildflower meadows?
Since the 1930s, the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadow habitats. That's nearly 7.5 million acres, with just 1% of our countryside now providing this vital home for pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
This has impacted the wildlife that relies on these meadows for food and shelter such as hedgehogs, badgers and hares, as well as birds such as the Lapwing, Meadow Pipit and Skylark.
Having more wildflower meadows is an important step in helping to reverse the decline and increase species richness.
How you can help
You can help with the Wildflower Meadow Project by leaving areas to grow wild, such as a section of your own garden. Garden lawns can become major sources of much needed nectar for pollinators.
Plantlife's Every Flower Counts survey
The Every Flower Counts is a science activity, surveying the UK’s lawns.
You can take part in the Every Flower Counts survey and get your very own Personal Nectar Score to show how many bees your lawn can support.
Find out more Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts Survey (external website)