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 appraoch 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 ccoverage, 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.