A thread. This morning I am angry, and sad. Why? Because the TV celeb that has the largest audience to talk about ecology in the UK, @ChrisGPackham, has shown total ignorance of ecology. Mowing this verge didn't "destroy" it! Cutting is necessary to maintain biodiversity 1/n
2/n It's a basic ecological process. Cutting mimicks grazing by animals. Without it, flower-rich grasslands and verges turn to scrub, and then to forest. Could it have been done later? Certainly. But by end July, many plants will already have set seed.
3/n With a similar lack of understanding of ecology, he celebrates these "wildflower verges" which are looking great, but are all but "wildflowers"! The problem with these are multiple: non-native species, use of glyphosate pre-sowing, cost of annual replacement etc
4/n these naturalistic seed mixes would no doubt look good in a garden. But people are now requesting them to their councils, and that's dreadful! This is what a typical road verge mix may look like...
5/n This may feel like a personal attack against Chris Packham. It's not. I think he has done a great job at bringing nature into more people's lives through TV. But please, please, when it comes to plants, talk to people who know about botany!
6/n Likening pictorial meadow mixes to the 97% of meadows lost in the UK isn't just wrong, it's somehow an insult to people who work for the conservation of the 3% remaining. Why can't we educate people to what we've lost? Why do we have to replace it with something "prettier"?
7) One argument is that pictorial meadows are a "first step" to help people accept more "wilderness". But by doing that, aren't we skewing people's idea of "wildflowers"? I've seen comments under pictures of pictorial mixes saying "it looks much better than our boring flowers".
8) With careful management & nutrient reduction, many verges can become more diverse & flower-rich. For other areas, native seed mixes exist, as well as native flower turf. Why not help the conservation industry and promote good practice?
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