Sonja is Volunteer Manager at The Dartington Hall Trust. She previously managed community and healthcare volunteer projects in South Africa and Mozambique. More about volunteering at Dartington
Last month, Woodland and Conservation volunteers led a project seeding the newly created Postern Path with wildflower seeds.
This is part a national campaign by Grow Wild UK, who are encouraging communities across the UK to transform local spaces by sowing, growing and enjoying native wildflowers.
In the UK, we have lost 98% of wildflower meadows since the 1930s, which is heavily impacting populations of butterflies, bees, pollinating bugs and birds.
It took two (very hot and sunny!) days for volunteers to prepare the 120m path, sow the seeds, and water the ground. Initially, we were using two very small watering cans which made for some entertaining but slow progress.
Gallery: Wildflower planting at Dartington (before and after)
Luckily Schumacher College were able to lend us a hose which somewhat sped up the process! We were then grateful for some rainy spells and eagerly observed the shoots as they started to show.
Six weeks later, the path is transformed! It is still mostly grass at this stage and a few buttercups – hopefully, as we move into summer, we will start to see a variety of flowers emerge.
The seeds used are a mixture of annuals and perennials so some will not be seen in the first year. They need to grow for at least two years before the plants are mature enough to flower.
Take a visit to the new path and enjoy. As wildflowers grow we do ask that they are not picked as we want everyone to enjoy them (including our butterflies and bees!)
About Volunteers Week
Volunteers Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK and takes place each year in June.
At Dartington we are grateful to have over 100 regular volunteers that support us in a wide range of roles including Conservation, Events, Festivals, Films, Gardening, Marketing, Shops, Visitor Services and Woodlands.