Wildflower Meadows and Wildlife Benefits:
Wildflower meadows are an amazing way to support lots of local wildlife.
- Pollinators. Wildflower meadows contain several flower species which produce nectar and pollen, attracting and supporting many bees, butterflies, moths, and hoverflies.
- Bird foraging and nesting. Insects attracted to wildflowers are a food source for birds such as flycatchers and warblers. The dense cover that wildflowers provide are also a great shelter for ground-nesting birds.
- Small mammals. Mice, voles, and shrews are provided with cover and nesting opportunities with an abundance of seeds and insects as a food source.
- Insects. The diversity that a wildflower meadow brings is a large variety of insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and spiders. These in turn attract bats and birds.
Overall, a wildflower meadow is a great way to support a wide range of wildlife, as you would be contributing to their conservation by hosting one in your own garden. Specific wildlife enjoys specific wildflowers and so it is good to be aware of what flowers to plant and what they will attract in turn:
- Bees: foxgloves attract long-tongued bees such as bumble and honeybees. Purple loosestrife attracts many bees, such as honey, bumble, and solitary bees. Viper’s Bugloss attracts bumble, honey, and mason bees.
- Butterflies: buddleia attracts many butterfly species such as Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell. Common Knapweed attracts the Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, and Small Skipper. Marjoram attracts the Small Cooper, Common Blue, and Small Tortoiseshell.
- Hoverflies: Oxeye daisies and Yarrow both attract hoverflies which are important pollinators.
- Moths: Hawk-moths and Underwing moths love evening primrose, and the Privet Hawk-moth and Elephant Hawk-moth love honeysuckle.
- Beetles. Cow Parsley attracts the Cardinal and Soldier Beetle and Meadowsweet attracts the Thick-legged Flower Beetle.
- Birds. Goldfinches love Teasel seeds, particularly in late summer. Linnets are attracted to Field Scabious. Bullfinches love honeysuckle berries and buds. Great Tits and Blue Tits feed on the nectar and insects attracted to Common Knapweed.