This week's garden wildlife blog is slightly different. We are looking into some of the nations favourite garden flowers, that also come as a benefit to garden wildlife. Enjoy! 

Britain’s Favourite Flower!

By now our gardens are looking bright and colourful. With tree leaves in full spout and flowers in bloom, the landscape is flourishing with a mix of greens, yellows, oranges, pinks, blues and purples.

We love flowers in the UK, so much so that the matter of what flower is best-loved is debated. However, there is no doubting the nations favourite is the rose. The rose is Britain’s top scorer in numerous polls and has remained at the top for decades, at no surprise. A 2017 poll carried out by Monarch Airlines put the nations favourite flowers in the following order:

  1. Rose                            6. Orchid
  2. Lily                               7. Carnation
  3. Tulip                             8. Bluebell
  4. Daffodil                        9. Freesia
  5. Sunflower                    10.Poppy

Roses are commonly associated with the country garden. As well as being beautiful to look at and beneficial to wildlife, roses have a language all of their own; for instance, red roses signify love, pink roses meaning grace, orange roses for fascination and burgundy for beauty.

 

There are a bewildering number of different roses, but if you want to enjoy them for both their glorious summer flowers and benefits to wildlife, choose old-fashioned varieties which are fragrant and disease-resistant. A wide range of insects will be attracted to the flowers, including bees and butterflies, and the fruits are popular with birds. Two species of rose that are particularly good for wildlife are the dog rose (Rosa canina) and field rose (Rose arvensis). Dog rose flowers provide an important source of nectar for insects and its fruits are a food source for blackbirds, redwings and waxwings. Having bush and shrub rose plants also provide shelter for small mammals, particularity if they are planted in a linear fashion, as they can act as wildlife corridors providing safe passage for small creatures underneath. 

Britain’s best-loved wildflower is another category of national favourites. It’s a different story when it comes to finding the UK's favourite wildflower, in England the bluebell sits at the top. Research carried out by the charity Plantlife in 2015 reflected that bluebells won special merit in the minds of the English public. A carpet of bluebells is astonishing to look at, so much so that more and more people are planting them in their gardens. They are easy to grow and can recreate the woodland carpet effect. Bluebells are not only great to look at, nectar seeking insects like bees love them as an early food source. Bluebells flower mid-April to late-May, so if you haven’t had chance to see any bluebell carpets yet, it’s time to take a trip before they disappear for another year. See if you can identify the English from the Spanish bluebell, things you should look out for are as follows:

English bluebell:                                                                              

  • Flower petals a deep purple
  • The spike of the flower droops to one side
  • Pollen has no colour
  • Flower petals curved and in a tube
  • A pungent scent of perfume

Spanish bluebell:

  • Pale coloured petals in a light blue but can also white or pink
  • Flower petals are erect and spike
  • Pollen has a blue or green colour
  • No scent

Enjoy bluebell hunting before its too late!

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous