Down by the Roadside

Down by the roadside doesn’t sound quite as bucolic as down by the riverside, but here we are. You might be surprised by what gems of nature you can find on a roadside verge. Since the 1930s it is estimated that we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows. With agricultural fields becoming patches of pesticide soaked monoculture crops our native wildflowers are clinging to the edges.Photo of field through hedge

Many rare wildflowers are to found on our roadside verges such as betony, ragged-Robin, orchids and fen ragwort. Plantlife have produced a report about wildflowers on verges which you can download and read here. Photo of fluffy seed head

However, even here this precious ecosystem is in danger. Understandably local councils need to ensure visibility for drivers, but Plantlife feel that they are cutting too much and too soon. They would like councils to wait until the flowers have seeded before cutting back. You can petition your local council from Plantlife’s website here.Photo of roadside verge and field

I took some photographs of just a small section of verge recently. I didn’t find anything rare, but it was buzzing with bees and looked so pretty. Photo of bees on brambles

I believe it was mostly cow parsley (or one of its carrot relatives), buttercups, red clover and a variety of grasses. Photo of grassy verge

The verge is augmented by a hedgerow full of bramble flowers and dog roses. At other times of the year this hedge has blackthorn and hawthorn blossoms.

So the next time you stop your car in a lay-by or take a stroll along a road side verge, take a look and see what you can find.

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11 thoughts on “Down by the Roadside

  1. Such a wonderful collection of beautiful wild plants. πŸ™‚
    I used to walk through many farmers’ fields as a kid and the hedgerows were abundant sources of wildlife. Thank you for your roadside walk – I enjoyed it very much. πŸ™‚

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