‘Let’s Grow Wild’ is Grow Wild’s new campaign, funded by the Big Lottery fund and led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It’s aimed at encouraging young people aged 12–25 years to get together to transform unloved spaces, gardens and windowsills into wildlife-friendly wild flower patches.
I found out about Grow Wild’s community project awards through a mailing list that I’m subscribed to, and then I signed up – Grow Wild fitted with the objectives I had in mind for the urban space I’ve been looking after and working on. The ground I look after was a completely inaccessible waste ground, full of junk. I want to turn it into a family space, set against an urban background. Fortunately, the developers who look after the building site nearby like what we are doing and want to help set up a permanent legacy.
The Grow Wild seed mix consists of beautiful native wild flowers, most of which will flower in the first year (annuals) and some that will flower year after year (perennials). The mix has been specially selected by Kew’s UK Native Seed Hub team and it has been sourced and produced in the UK.
In the UK we’re lucky enough to have some amazing native wild flowers, including corncockles, common poppies and meadow buttercups (read more on growwilduk.com), but we’re in danger of losing them as their natural habitats disappear: 97% of meadows have diminished since the 1930s.
Wild flowers are crucial for creating wildlife-friendly havens for pollinating insects, birds, butterflies and bees. So they help support the natural world and are crucial for our food production. Without them, there’s less colour and there’s nowhere for important species – species that we as humans depend on to produce our food – to live and thrive.
The good thing is that we can do something about it now. The humblest wild flower space can be a haven for wildlife – and by working together we can transform spaces with nature and help our natural world.
Richard Reynolds is known as the Guerrilla Gardener. For a decade he’s been illicitly cultivating neglected public spaces, popularising the activity through his blog GuerrillaGardening.org, books and slide shows into what is now a loose global movement.
He lives in a high rise in London’s Elephant & Castle with his wife and baby daughter. From here, his guerrilla gardens sprout along streets and roundabouts in all directions. In 2011, he co-founded Mobile Gardeners, a community gardening initiative to take formal responsibility for interim development sites.
He has created a pocket park in Wansey Street, in London’s Elephant & Castle, where residents can grow mobile allotments and take refuge from the front line of demolition. Richard is now working closely with Kew on the Grow Wild project, where he will be transforming a space into a wild flower patch.
For more information, have a look at our PQ article, Guerrilla gardening.
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