The bank below Crow Wood was sown with wildflower seeds in 2014. The mix used for the main bank area below the path up to Ross Avenue was Scotia Seeds “Mavis Bank mix” and this contained a proportion of Cowslip seeds. To begin with, as expected, not all the species in the seed mix germinated immediately and it was not until 2018 that the first Cowslip flowers were seen. That year there were about 4 or 5 plants in flower.
This year the population has further increased with some 20 plants in full flower being counted, so it looks as though we now have a thriving Cowslip population on this bank, adding to the overall tally of approaching 70 different wildflower species that can now be found in this DBCWG managed area. Flowering will soon be over, so go now if you want to see them.
Cowslips used to be a common sight in meadows and roadside banks, and while much reduced have not totally been lost. They are making a comeback as more councils and road managers recognise the benefit of more plant-sympathetic cutting regimes, and some road and motorway banks now have a quite a scatter of these delicate yellow spring flowers. The charity Plantlife have been in the forefront of campaigning to save roadside verges from overzealous and damaging cutting regimes.
There are Cowslips elsewhere in Dalgety Bay as well, thanks to someone’s efforts to protect field orchids growing among the grass on the bank beside the Eastern Access Road. This reduced mowing allowed Cowslips to flourish as well as the orchids, and it means seed is set and naturally scattered after flowering is finished so the population should increase further.
Further pressure on the Council to reduce early cutting on other areas of the bank by one of our group, Kathryn Green, have also saved a small population of Cuckoo flowers (Lady's Smock) growing there. These attractive flowers are used by early pollinators and are a favourite food for the caterpillars of the beautiful Orange-tip butterfly.
We have a sympathetic council, but they need help to point out where changes in grass cutting can help improve our wildflowers on roadside verges.