Meadow innovation with native and non-native species

Pictorial Meadows have spent the last 20 years developing their range of meadows.

The company's modern plant hunters scour the globe seeking new and interesting species for inclusion in their meadows in order to provide the most colour and the best support for pollinators.

Research has shown this combination of native and non-native species to offer considerably more benefits for both people and wildlife compared to native only mixes.

For people, a Pictorial Meadow provides a spectacular and uniquely colourful show across a longer season that develops and changes as different species come to the fore across the year. Their meadows have often been described as having a “firework effect” in that they explode with spectacular, ever changing colour.

Many of our native species in the UK have a short flowering period of just a few weeks each spring meaning that a purely native meadow could never offer the same longevity and variety of colour.

Of course, a meadow is so much more than just a spectacular display of colour. Meadows have an important role to play in supporting our native pollinators and wildlife.

Much of the research Pictorial Meadows have completed over the last 20 years has looked at how we can develop and build their meadow mixes to best support biodiversity around the UK. Their findings have made clear the important role non-native species have in supporting UK biodiversity, with these findings being supported by research published by the British Ecological Society and the RHS1.

Their four-year study looked at the frequency of visits by pollinators to a number of test plots planted in RHS gardens featuring native, non-native, and mixed species.

The findings of the research suggested that whilst early in the season the native plots received more visits, the limited flowering period of the native species resulted in the non-native species receiving more visits later in the season. This highlights the important role non-native species have as a food and pollen source late into the season when native species are simply not available.

The key to abundant pollinators, according to this research, was high floral availability, with this being better provided by the plots that contained a mixture of native and non-native species.

These findings support Pictorial Meadows research, and it is for these reasons that they include a mixture of native and non-native species and cultivars in all their mixes.

Put simply, a Pictorial Meadow provides more food for hungry pollinators and a more spectacular display for you. A fantastically floral win-win.

You can find out more about the PM range of meadows in seed and turf at www.PictorialMeadows.co.uk.

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