Create your own wildflower garden using native species

Countryside team gets buzzy with new pollination campaign

The UK’s wildflower meadows are at peril according to the Devon Local Nature Partnership. Over the past 70 years up to 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost, which has caused a huge decline in the number of pollinating insects in the countryside.

East Devon District Council’s Countryside team is taking part in the Get Devon Buzzing campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators such as bees, wasps and butterflies and to encourage positive action to conserve them.

The team will be involved in the Build for Bees competition, which aims to inspire people to take part in conservation tasks in their local community, workplace or garden to help build a habitat for Devon’s pollinators.

As part of this competition Countryside will be working with local communities in Exmouth and Honiton to create bug hotels, while volunteers at Seaton Wetlands and Cranbrook will be maintaining the bug hotels built last year. Photographs of the finished creations will entered into the Build for Bees competition, via naturaldevon.org.uk

As well as practical conservation tasks the Countryside team has worked with volunteers to increase the number of wildflowers in local nature reserves. The volunteers sowed a wild flower meadow at the Knapp in Sidmouth and in the wildlife garden at Seaton Wetlands. As the flowers start to bloom this will attract high numbers of insects searching for nectar, which will in turn help to pollinate the plants.

Countryside team leader, Tim Dafforn explained pollination in more detail:

Pollinators, such as bees and insects, are an essential part of the food chain, without insects visiting our countryside we would not have such a wide choice of flowers, fruit or vegetables. We hope our involvement with the Get Devon Buzzing campaign will inspire more people to take action and create new habitats in their local patch.

We sourced wild flower seed locally from Goren Farm near Honiton and used a mix of native annual and perennial plants, such as yellow rattle, oxeye daisy and yarrow. If you are interested in planting wildflowers in your garden or window box please choose native British seed. Scatter seed and rake with a thin layer soil and give a good watering with a fine spray to avoid washing the seed away. Wait a few months and enjoy the summer display.

If you’d like to find out more about pollinators such as bees and other insects, the Countryside team has a number of events, including bug hunts and nature trails, taking place throughout the summer, which aim inspire people to do more for wildlife.

To enter the Devon Local Nature Partnership’s competition you will need to build your own bug hotel and post an image of it on social media using the hashtags#BuildforBeesand #GetDevonBuzzing  Deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 15 September 2017.