What I learnt from Lucy's talk "lets get buzzing".
Dandelions are demonised as a weed, but hold back on the mowing and you'll find a whole range of garden wildlife depends on them for food.
The Banks community land at Bowness on Solway are the official beginning or end of the Hadrian's walk. The grass is mown monthly not weekly as for most gardens in the village. Volunteers look after the site.
I wanted to get a closer look at the Dandelions.
Something I would not have not done if I had not heard Lucy talking about her passion for nature.
Here is what Lucy said - Dandelions are rich in pollen and nectar providing a source of food for pollinators. Each bright yellow head contains around 100 individual flowers. With spring, bumblebees emerge from hibernation hungry. If you plan on cutting the grass over the next few weeks, the experts recommend leaving the yellow flowers to bloom for the bees. Maybe I should contact the local community group who looks after the banks and suggest holding back a bit longer before they mow.
Delaying the mow, means the Dandylions can grow into the seedhead we knew as kids. In addition to granting wishes, many people believe that their seeds will carry your thoughts and dreams to loved ones when you blow them into the air.
The plant is a perennial herb and is one of the oldest herbs used for food and healing — since before Roman times. At the top of the banks is a shelter built in the style of the Romans. It is where people celebrate all their hard work completing Hadrian's walk. Many do this to fundraise for their charity or as a dedication to a lost loved one. Walking in nature can have special meaning. Photo above by Siim Lukka on Unsplash
I wonder if when you finish the walk, pick a Dandelion, blow the seeds and send a thought to your loved one ?
As a rule if you can see the pollen and nectar parts of the flower without pulling back petals then its ok for pollinators. Dandelions are used by bumblebees, honeybees, solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and caterpillars. Goldfinches eat the seeds!.
Research also shows that a significant contribution to nectar and pollen early in the year comes from weeds such as dandelions and buttercups, which means leaving some of these to flower is likely to be important to early spring bees. The dandelion is bold and brash and unrelenting. But that is why it is brilliant. It's virtually everywhere and nearly always in flower; it's the pollinator's best friend. Photo above by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash
I wanted to take an even closer view of one Dandelion. So I got on my knees. Sadly this is what I saw. But there is good news, the Bowness community group volunteers regularly cleans the beach and the banks.
I had posted the pictures of the banks on my personal facebook. A friend emailed me back with the picture below of his favourite Dandelion. I asked him what kind was it ? He replied "just a dandelion I caught on my phone one frosty morning on holiday in Yorkshire 5 years ago". If feel the beauty of nature can give precious happy memories. But is it a Dandelion ?