David Wright (CC BY 2.0)
British Wildlife 28.2 December 2016

Keeping the wild in wildflower

Last May, Plantlife published some thoughts on the role of seeding in conservation. The aim was to encourage a more balanced approach to seeding, arguing that we consider the full gamut of habitat management, creation and restoration techniques, rather than automatically reaching for a packet of seed. With national press coverage, including a supportive leader in The Times, it produced quite a reaction. Here, I want to outline some of Plantlife’s original arguments – drawing on my own personal experiences. 

I was luck enough to grow up on an arable farm in Hampshire, where the rolling downland supported a rich and distinctive flora. My dad worked hard to grow crops on the thin chalky soils; wheat and barley were the bread-and-butter of the farm but, with a hint of his own botanical flare, he also like to experiment with growing more unusual crops such as opium poppy, linseed and even lupins.

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