The Grow Wild campaign, which launched today at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is calling for everyone to help transform unloved space with native wild flowers. The aim is to create hundreds of beautiful wild flower patches which will bloom across the UK in June and July.
This is the UK’s biggest ever wild flower seed-sowing campaign, and part of a £10.5m programme which will run until 2017. The mission is to transform urban spaces, gardens and windowsills into wildlife-friendly wild flower patches.
97% of the meadows we had before World War II have disappeared and the number of native wild flowers in the UK has fallen by 97% since the 1930s. There are currently 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world – regions that are extremely biologically diverse but are also under severe threat. Each hotspot is home to at least 1,500 plant species, and has lost at least 70% of its original habitat.
‘As well as helping our wild flowers to flourish and bring life to unloved spaces, Let’s Grow Wild is about people re-connecting with the natural world. It’s about discovering and enjoying the beauty of our wild flowers and re-engaging with the spaces, places and people around us.’
Gay Coley, Director of Public Programmes for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
If that’s not enough to make you reach for your trowel, there are plenty of other excuses. Studies have shown that green spaces have a massive impact on society, and can help with everything from crime rates to mental and physical health. Growing even a tiny patch of wild flowers on your doorstep – wherever you live – can help improve biodiversity on a much bigger scale, and enhance the wellbeing of everyone around you.
80 Grow Wild projects have been awarded funding to help them infuse unloved spaces with the life, colour and beauty of wild flowers. Sites ranging from windswept urban rooftops, dingy housing estates, gloomy city underpasses, old colliery grounds, dull council offices, neglected railway sidings and prison gardens to bus stops and a clapped-out taxi will get a vibrant new lease of life, thanks to funding from Grow Wild and the energy, effort and creativity of groups of enthusiasts and volunteers.
Alongside the wild flowers, the groups will use art installations, photography, design and architecture student projects, moss graffiti and sensory gardens to bring life and colour to unloved urban spaces.
‘Grow Wild is about making connections. Connecting people with nature, connecting people with the places where they live, and connecting people with each other across generations. Wild plants can bring beauty to the most unlikely places. Yet one in five British wild flowers is now threatened with extinction. Now Grow Wild is launching a campaign to encourage people to get sowing, to make a real difference to wild flowers and to the places where they live.’
Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund
Supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Grow Wild is also a response to studies which have shown that communities across the UK are now more fragmented than ever before and young people in particular do not often have the freedom to connect with nature.
If you’d like to find out how you, your friends and your family can get together to create your own bit of Grow Wild flower magic in your street, club or neighbourhood, visit www.growwilduk.com and check out its list of Grow Wild activities.
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