As the beginning of spring is a great time of year to sow seeds, the little ones and I did just that in the nursery garden last week. GrowWilduk.com had kindly sent us some Wildflower seeds for no charge as these beautiful flowers play such an important role in the UK ecosystem, it’s great to get little people involved in growing them.
Wildflowers provide food for insects in the form of leaves, nectar and pollen, along with shelter and places for insects to breed. In return, insects pollinate wildflowers, enabling them to develop seeds and spread them to grow in other areas (https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/why-wildflowers-matter). Many of our favourite fruits, vegetables and nuts rely on insect pollination to thrive and produce a good crop and my house would not be a happy one if we weren’t able to buy strawberries or apples, so this process really is crucial. On the other hand, insects themselves are food for birds, bats, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals, all of whom contribute to the cycle of life (https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/why-wildflowers-matter).
The reason native wildflowers are so interesting is because they’ve grown and evolved for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years in the UK climate alongside other native wildflower and organisms which often benefit each other (https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/why-wildflowers-matter). For example, some bumblebee species have developed so that they're very particular about where they get their food and need certain UK native wildflower species to survive, hence why we were sowing wildflower seeds aided by Grow Wild at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (https://www.growwilduk.com/wildflowers/why-wildflowers-matter).
After pouring seeds into the little one’s hands we watched as they sprinkled them onto the area Mrs Casey had thoughtfully cleared for this purpose, or at least tried to! The seeds decorating the playground would have been surplus meals for nearby birds so they wouldn’t have gone to waste anyway. The kids enjoyed taking turns using the recycled plastic milk carton with holes in its lid to gently water their newly sown seeds; to make them happy in their new home.
Sketching about seed germination and chatting about its importance, one little girl noticed the speckles of rain outside and shouted, ‘the seeds need rain to grow!’ 'Yes, they do,' I responded, ‘along with sunlight,’ and we talked about why it’s important to have things growing in our gardens, especially for insects. ‘It’s key to help look after all life on earth,’ I explained.
Earth Hour was scheduled to occur two days later on Saturday 30th Mach 2019 so we drew and coloured in earth whilst thinking about how much we love our planet, and why it’s good to save energy by turning the light’s off. Hopefully this might have helped some local households decide to take part in Earth Hour – come to think of it, our village was pretty dark between 8.30-9.30pm last Saturday, so maybe it did…