24 May 2017

Why meadows matter

Wild flower meadows are one of the rarest habitats in the UK and we have lost 97% of our wild flower meadows since the 1930s. Losing our wildflowers has a real impact on the food we eat.

A colourful wildflower meadow

Why do meadows matter? 

'British wildflowers are under threat and therefore so are the pollinators they feed. Not only is it heartbreaking to lose the beauty and colour these native flowers give the UK landscape, but the plight of pollinators has a very real impact on the food we eat ourselves.' Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Director, Richard Deverell 

Wild flower meadows provide shelter and food for important pollinators including bees. There are over 250 species of bee in the UK and they play a vital part in supporting the ecosystem.  

When wild flower meadows vanish so do pollinators, as well as other insects, and animals that eat insects, such as birds, hedgehogs and bats.   

Bees are in particular decline in the UK. Wild flower meadows are extremely diverse habitats, with a huge variety of flowers; ideal for bees. But since their decline, some species of bee have evolved to only eat a limited number of pollens and too much competition for food sources inevitably causes bee populations to reduce. 

The more diversity we have in our natural habitats, then the more bees, birds, animals and other insects there will be.  

How are we responsible for the decline? 

Development of land for property and changes to farming methods have both contributed to this decline in wild flower meadows.  

But responsibility comes a little closer to home too. Our gardens used to be pollinator friendly, full of food, herbs and medicinal plants. Now we are more likely to have decorative plants in our gardens and are less likely to leave long grasses and hedgerows. 

What does the future look like for wild flower meadows?  

Communities and organisations are working together to return wild flower meadows to the UK landscape. 

Grow Wild is the UK’s biggest wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native wild flowers and plants. It has also funded four large scale urban rejuvenation projects to transform previously unloved spaces into wildlife havens while bringing communities together. So hopefully, the future is bright and full of wild flowers. 

Learn how to grow wildflowers

Find out all you need to know to get growing your own wildflowers, and create a rich, biodiverse ecosystem