Article - The River Blog

Wildflower Growing on the Holme

Author: Luke Sherwood
Categories: Invasive species, Volunteers, Wildflower growing
Tags: , ,

Seed collection

Over Spring and Summer of 2020, RHC staff and volunteers harvested wildflower seeds from sites along the river. We collected seeds from Bluebell, Red campion, Greater wood-rush, Pendulous sedge, Wood avens and Hedge woundwort. Importantly, by harvesting locally we ensured that the species we grow are native and suited to the local habitat.

harvesting wildflower seeds at Magdale, Honley      bluebell seeds in hand

Volunteers sign up

We reached out to our community and asked if volunteers would be happy to grow the seeds we collected. The response RHC received was amazing, with almost 80 volunteers offering to grow over 130 trays of wildflower seeds. This massive task force means we can grow a great number of native wildflowers.

Pack distribution

RHC delivered packs right across the catchment from Hepworth in the south all the way up to Lockwood in the north. A range of groups as well as individuals got involved in the project including Thornton Lodge Action Group, Aden View & Aden Lodge Care Homes, Kirklees College, One17 Architects, S2R Create Space and Growing Works.

map of wildflower deliveries

Growing the seeds

The seeds are being planted, loved and cared for by our volunteers over the Winter. They will be fed from the compost provided by funding from Third Sector Leaders Kirklees Community Learning Works and watered regularly by our volunteers.

Clearing invasive plants along River Holme

A massive part of the conservation work that we do on the river is removal of invasive species like Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. These species create a monoculture along the riverbank by outcompeting native plants like the wildflowers we grow. This monoculture is bad news for biodiversity because it limits the habitat to one or two plant species. Once we have cleared the invasive plants, the riverbanks are left vulnerable to erosion and collapse. It is important to recolonise these empty spaces to create a biodiverse river system along the River Holme.

Plant plugs on cleared riverbanks

Over the Summer of 2021, RHC staff and volunteers will plant our newly grown wildflowers along the river, helping to recolonise the riverbanks and create a biodiverse ecosystem for wildlife and people to enjoy.

 

To check out the wonderful groups we worked with on this project, follow the links below:

TSL Kirklees

S2R Create Space

Growing Works

Thornton Lodge Action Group

Aden View and Aden Lodge Care Homes

One17 Architects

Kirklees College

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