I am often asked, “should I plant wildflower seed?” My answer is always that pollinators themselves would say “no”.
Would I sow wildflower seed in my own garden? I might put some in a patio pot, but there is absolutely no way that I’d sow them in my lawn. By simply reducing mowing, amazing wildflowers like Dandelion, Clovers, Self-heal and Bird’s-foot-trefoil naturally pop-up year after year at no cost. These common flowers provide the nutrients our insects need. You’re also genuinely helping biodiversity – by returning pockets of natural grassland meadows and verges, no matter how tiny, the collective benefit to wildlife is enormous. They’re a long-term and sustainable solution to the biodiversity crisis. It’s very tempting to plant what we humans like, rather than doing what our declining pollinators actually need. Most wildflower seed is imported from other countries and is not native. Plant it if you like, but please only ever do so in your own garden. View it in the same way as you might planting Lavender, Comfrey or Crocus. It’s a colourful ‘horticultural action’, it’s not a ‘biodiversity action’.
In our lawns, verges, towns, villages, and parks,
let’s really help bees and biodiversity
by NOT planting wildflower seed.
In our lawns, verges, towns, villages, and parks, let’s really help bees and biodiversity by not planting wildflower seed. Instead, reduce mowing and allow our beautiful natural Irish meadows to return with native flowers that are meant to be there. It won’t look like the front of a wildflower seed packet, but that’s not a natural habitat and is not what pollinators want.
Let’s change our expectations and create thousands of natural mini meadows that genuinely help biodiversity, not artificial ones that are attractive to humans!
– Dr Úna FitzPatrick, Project Manager and Co-founder, All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan does not endorse any wildflower or seed bomb suppliers. Where this impression is given on third-party websites, it is without permission.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan Business Framework is fully inclusive, allowing any business to sign up to take actions for pollinators. However, registration does not equate to endorsement of products or services by the AIPP.
Allowing the native seed bank to do the work is always best
Natural meadow developed through reduced mowing © Réamaí Mathers
To find out more, see our videos on creating natural meadows through reduced mowing: https://pollinators.ie/videos/
Creating Meadows for Biodiversity
Top Tips for Creating a Wildflower Meadow
Production of these two videos was funded by Kildare County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Wicklow County Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government through the National Biodiversity Action Plan Fund. Many thanks to Bridget Loughlin, Heritage Officer, Kildare County Council; Dearbhala Ledwidge, Heritage Officer, Kilkenny County Council; and Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer, Wicklow County Council, for supporting this project.