Trinity College Dublin has begun transforming its manicured front lawns on College Green into nature-friendly wildflower meadows after a public vote in favour of it.
Thousands of students, staff and members of the public voted to replace the manicured lawns beside Front Gate with the more nature-friendly alternative.
Held in February this year, the poll received 13,850 votes, with 12,496 of those (around 90%) in favour of the conversion to wildflower meadows.
The poll was initiated as part of the university’s response to Ireland’s biodiversity crisis.
Lawn-mowing and ground preparation can disturb insects that feed and nest in the soil. Wildflowers support biodiversity and provide a habitat for native insects and food for pollinators in the city centre.
The new wildflower meadows will further increase the range of plant species available for pollinators, as well as cementing Trinity’s commitment to the All-Ireland Pollinator plan, while representing a pioneering attempt in Ireland to place wildflower spaces in a formal setting.
The wildflowers being planted will include a mix of annuals and perennials, with as many as possible being of known Irish origin. Planting may be supplemented with some bulbs and rhizomatous plants – such as wood anemones. The main aim will be for flowering to extend over as long a period as is possible.
Professor John Parnell, Chair of Trinity’s grounds and gardens committee said: “The new wildflower areas will bloom in one of the most prominent areas in Dublin, which is passed by thousands of people every day. The green space outside our iconic Front Gate may look a little less tidy than it once did but will be more colourful and serve as a constant reminder of what nature looks like while underlining the increasingly important role we all have in protecting our environment.”
The meadows, which will flower from Spring to Autumn, will be left untouched over the winter months when pollinating insects, such as butterflies, hoverflies and bees, are not active.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.