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.
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.
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.
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.
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.