2023 is the 8th year of NI Science Festival with a month packed full of science events. SIREN23 is a fair within the festival that brings together local environmental organisations and traders. With stalls teaching about recycling, sustainable fashion, and marine conservation, to name a few. There was lots of great information to start living consciously with the environment in mind. We had great discussions and exchanged lots of ideas and solutions for our planet.
We were delighted to hear that lots of you are interested in sowing native wildflower meadows. With increasing need to boost biodiversity, what better way to do that than with native wildflower seed! Many of you understand the need for these native plants, which play a key role in our various ecosystems. Regenerating habitats is very important environmental work and it’s great that you’re getting involved.
The Precautionary Principle
Here at True Harvest Seeds we follow the Precautionary Principle, a critical concept in environmental policy and decision-making. It suggests that in situations where there is uncertainty about the potential risks of an action, it is better to err on the side of caution and take preventive measures to avoid harm. In the context of wildflower conservation, the Precautionary Principle can help protect fragile ecosystems and endangered species from irreparable damage. This is why our native wildflower seed is of native-origin, meaning it is produced from seed collections made on the island of Ireland. We do not import or export our wildflower seed overseas as this is unlikely to happen naturally. Many companies are now offering packets of native wildflower seed, however their origin is unknown. Our work has required us to aquire the permission of many generous land owners so we could make collections.
Hybridisation of Bluebells
Irish Bluebell hybridisation is, unfortunately, a perfect example of the dangers of native wildflower importation. Spanish Bluebells were introduced into gardens in the U.K. and Ireland in the 1900s. As pollinators made their way flower to flower feeding, the Irish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, and Spanish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides hispanica cross pollinated. This resulted in the creation of a hybrid, Hyacinthoides hispanica x non-scripta. As hybridisation continues, we lose genetic diversity in our bluebells and, in the worst case, lose our native Irish Bluebell altogether. So when we sow wildflower meadows it is important to note the species, but more importantly, where the seed of those species originate. This means when we sow native species we are not accidently causing hybridisation with wildflowers that are not of native-origin. Our advice is, always sow native-origin wildflower seed!