While working in Conway Rec I have become more and more aware of the plants that we call ‘weeds’. We are trying to diversify the species in the park by reintroducing many varieties of wild flowers and will be trying to create some meadows again. For many volunteers and Council workers it takes time to recognise that there is value in some of the ‘weeds’ that we already find there – but attitudes are changing! (Remember the Peacock Butterfly caterpillars on the nettles 2 yeas ago?)
Attitudes to weeds have changed dramatically over the years.
An extract from a lengthy publication by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) tells us : Attitudes to weeds have changed dramatically over the years, and are continuing to change. Once upon a time, many of the plants currently regarded as weeds were thought of as beneficial or at least not a problem. Ironically it was the emergence of chemical herbicides that created weeds out of some plants by altering attitudes towards them… Many of the plants that are currently called weeds are in fact better viewed as non-crop plants or even beneficial plants. Many provide valuable ecosystem services such as habitat for natural biological pest control agents. ‘Weeds’ can provide valuable ground cover, protecting the soil from sun and rain damage and erosion. Weed roots can help improve soil biological activity and structure. They can be useful green manures, and in compost.
We can hopefully look forward to seeing some new varieties of wildflower/’weeds’ in the Rec next year.