Nature Notes

Poppies

A few years ago, on the edge of a local field, there used to be a big gathering of common poppies; the symbol of World War 1, There nodding flowers and arching bulbous flower buds were a reminder of how things used to be before weed-killers and pesticides were introduced to make more land available for crops. It was not just poppies of course that thrived but a whole range of other wildflowers as well. Fortunately there are areas such as nature reserves and SSI's, sites of special scientific interest, where one can still go and see wildflower meadows and areas that have not been used as farmland. One of the best ways of seeing wildflowers in your own garden is to select a patch of ground, and either plant wildflower seeds there or allow existing weeds to grow in a controlled way, and the more varied the flowers from the weeds are the greater the range will be of insects visiting those flowers. The picture below was taken about 3 years ago on the edge of a field where the weedkiller had not penetrated - since then the whole field has been used to harvest oilseed rape and any poppies have been, no doubt, liquidated with herbicides.
Common Poppies