Simplicity and wildflowers Part 2: New London Meadows

All over London this summer, I’ve noticed wildflower and grassy meadows where before there was regularly mown grass. This is something I’ve been persuading landlords to do for the last year and a half, and now, suddenly, it seems to have become part of the general zeitgeist.

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Sometimes people worry that they make a place look neglected or untidy, but this isn’t the case if the areas are clearly demarcated with tidy mown strips beside them.

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This shows it’s clearly a deliberate act. Meadows (even small ones) are fantastic for several reasons; they encourage pollinators and other insects, which are essential for both our food supply and which many birds and mammals depend on; they help reverse the general impoverishment of our age, where once common species have become a rarity; they bring moths, butterflies, bees, hoverflies, flying beetles into the common experience once again, thereby gladdening city-dwellers’ hearts; and – a real clincher for cash-pressed councils and parks – they save time and money. I’m pretty sure that austerity is one of the main factors behind this sudden attention to wildlife, alongside a growing awareness of the benefits. And that cheers me – I’ve finally found one positive then, out of all the injustice, pain and loss which, to me, UK ‘austerity politics’ represents.

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