Richard Elliot, from St George’s Church, Cam shares how the church has been encouraging wildflowers in the churchyard, against all odds
“As part of our commitment to be an Eco Church and to care for and protect God’s earth, we have been very keen to introduce wildflowers to St. George’s churchyard.
“Following a number of unsuccessful attempts to sow wildflower seeds, we have been very fortunate to have been able to partner with ecologist Julian Jones of Wild Dursley – ‘WILDur’ CIC. Following much determined effort, Julian obtained generous funding from The Summerfield Charitable Trust that enabled us to purchase wildflower plug plants for the churchyard. The advantage of plug plants, of course, is that we are introducing a healthy, growing plant to the environment rather than trying to get seeds to germinate and seedlings to flourish.
“All this meant that on the morning of Saturday 16 October 2021 a working party of around 20 people met in the churchyard and planted just over 1,000 plug plants in an area free of gravestones in the southern part of the churchyard. The number of enthusiastic volunteers (and the amazing energy of churchwarden James when equipped with a powered hole-boring auger!) meant that the task was accomplished within two hours.
“As a bonus, one of Julian’s fellow botanists travelled all the way from Builth Wells in central Wales in order to bring us a very rare wild plant. This is Limestone Woundwort, which is found only in only two other sites in the UK, these being in Denbigh in North Wales and Wotton-Under-Edge. As we share very similar conditions to the Wotton site the hope is that this plant will also flourish in our churchyard. A number of young plants raised from Wotton seedlings have been placed in various locations around the churchyard.
“We must now wait with bated breath to see whether our efforts result in the anticipated swathe of wildflower meadow. If it does, we shall enjoy not only the beauty of the flowers but the satisfaction of knowing that we are providing food and habitat for bees, butterflies and other insects and wildlife.”