Get closer to nature - recognise your wildflowers

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Grow the best of british in your garden this year! Our fabulous native wildflowers offer all the colour you need, says Adrian Thomas

Most of us have a deep and abiding love of flowers, and we grow blooms that originate in every corner of the world. But what of our own native wildflowers? We may encounter them in woods and country lanes, but is there a place for them in gardens too? And, what do we actually mean when we talk about ‘wildflowers’?
To answer that, we need to start by taking a quick trip back in time. Just 12,000 years ago – a blink of an eye in the history of the world – Britain was in the grip of the last Ice Age. Things were so cold that pretty much the only plants that survived here were those adapted to arctic conditions.
The world then began to warm very quickly. The ice retreated, and all manner of plants spread northwards, their seeds carried by the wind and by wild animals. They included many moving up from ‘mainland’ Europe, for sea levels were so much lower than they are today that there was no English Channel to block their route. We’re talking about everything from tiny duckweeds to massive oaks and everything in between.

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