Why is that grass uncut? Why are there piles of leaves? Why are there dead trees in the park? All valid questions that get asked by parks' visitors more often than you imagine.
The truth is, long grass with wildflowers, decaying leaves and dead wood are all valuable when it comes to attracting and supporting wildlife. As are piles of twigs, uncut hedges during the bird breeding season and dead flowerheads or stems. Removing them woukd mean all sorts of pollinators, birds and other wildlife would struggle to survive or move on to other areas.
This change in parks and public space management is relatively new. A couple of decades ago, many parks had manicured lawns, trimmed hedges and perfect flowerbeds. They were also wildlife deserts. That coincides with the loss of species like house sparrows, once one of our most common urban birds. They suffered a population crash of more than 60% and a lack of natural food such as seeds and insects was a big part of the problem.
We still struggle to love dandelions and daisies, but we are getting better, and our parks are much richer in nature as a consequence, which is better for us and the wider environment.
Check out these five parks in spring and summer for great wildflower displays:
- Hampstead Heath
- Whittington Park
- London Fields
- St Helier Open Space
- Perretts Field