I had another post planned for this week but when I saw the flowering wild flower verge near Didcot Civic Hall I decided to revise my schedule.
Back in January 2021 I noticed what appeared to be tyre tracks across the grass verse opposite the Marlborough Club. Closer inspection revealed them to be the start of a wildflower strip.
Didcot Town Council has sown the area with a mix of cornfield annuals and perennials. They’re 100% UK native wildflowers and will need no chemical fertilisers.
I’ve tracked progress over the last few months and, after a slow start, the flowers are now out!
The cornfield annuals include poppies, cornflowers, corn marigolds and (I think) corn chamomile. There are a variety of other plants too, including fumitory, violas, thistles and several different grasses. I’m guessing at least some of these have self-seeded. I don’t know what perennials have been planted; if anyone does please do leave a comment.
I visited on a damp day but was impressed by how many pollinators and other insects were buzzing around. Hoverflies were out in abundance whilst the bees were busy on the poppies. There was even a Meadow Brown fluttering around!
I watched a ladybird devour black fly on a thistle head and then realised there were three ladybird larvae feeding on the same plant. It’s amazing how much there is to spot once you focus in on a few flowers.
Wildflowers have also been planted in the beds next to the allotment. In past years these have always been home to formal bedding plants, so this is quite a change of direction for the Council.
My favourites are the cornflowers. There aren’t many but their vivid blue colour ensures they stand out. Although these are annuals I do hope some more are sown next year.
If you’re in the area do pop along for a look. It’s great to have access to nature in a town centre – well done Didcot Town Council!