CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

Growing golden for wildlife

PUBLISHED: 15:44 21 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:55 21 July 2014

Red-tailed bumblebee. Photo: Jon Hawkins

Red-tailed bumblebee. Photo: Jon Hawkins


To mark Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s golden anniversary this year, the charity has launched a ‘growing golden’ project. Sarah Buckingham explains

Meadow buttercupsMeadow buttercups

The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is celebrating 50 years of working for wildlife this year, so we are growing a border of golden flowers in our wildlife garden at Grebe House, St Albans, and inviting Hertfordshire residents to grow golden for wildlife too.

Gardens are increasingly important havens for wildlife as habitats shrink and fragment. Although each garden on its own may be small, gardens together form a patchwork linking green spaces in towns with nature reserves and the wider countryside. With an estimated 16 million gardens in the UK, the way they are managed can make a big difference to wildlife. Here are some ideas to get you started.


Yellow native flowering plants>>>

Hay meadow with yellow rattle. Photo: Lee SchofieldHay meadow with yellow rattle. Photo: Lee Schofield

Try growing – or just not digging up – some of our wonderful native species to attract wildlife. Native wildflowers are most likely to be suited to local soils and the British climate of course. Here are some of our favourites – see if these natives suit the conditions in your garden:


• Agrimony, Agrimony eupatoria. 
Does best on a well-drained site. In the wild it’s found in woodland margins, on roadsides, field borders and on open grassland.


Common blue butterfly feeding on a buttercupCommon blue butterfly feeding on a buttercup

• Kidney vetch, Anthyllis vulneraria.
Likes infertile soils and will cover bare ground with the right conditions. If you have chalky or sandy soil in your garden, this could fit the bill.
• Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris. 
Also commonly known as kingcup, marsh marigold is perfect for planting near ponds or on wet ground.


• Greater celandine, Chelidonium majus.
Grows readily in most soils. Seen in hedgerows and road verges in the wild.


Birdsfoot trefoil. Photo: Neil WyattBirdsfoot trefoil. Photo: Neil Wyatt

• Yellow flag iris, Iris pseudacorus. 
A stunning accompaniment to the margins of your wildlife pond, yellow flag is one of two native irises. Thrives on wet soils.


• Toadflax, Linaria vulgaris. 
Native perennial that likes dry, infertile soils. More frequently found on chalky soils than acid sites.


• Field buttercup, Ranunculus acris. 
Found on loamy, sandy, chalky and particularly heavy clay soils, the often overlooked buttercup has declined with chemical use in agriculture.


Free wildflower seeds>>>

As part of our anniversary celebrations, native wildflower specialists Emorsgate Seeds has carefully selected four yellow wildflowers that are perfect for sowing this autumn. Order your free packet of golden wildflower seeds at

Choose from bird’s foot trefoil, yellow rattle, corn marigold or cowslip:


• Bird’s-foot trefoil. 
Absent only from very acid or very infertile soils. Tolerant of cutting and grazing, so suitable for flowery lawns. Mainly pollinated by bees. The larval food plant for a number of moth species including six and five spot burnet and of the common blue butterfly.


• Yellow rattle.
Suitable for low to medium fertile soils. Intolerant of shade. Well suited to fine turf and tolerant of cutting. It parasitizes the roots of grasses, so can be sown into a lawn to create a nice display. Excellent for bees.


• Corn marigold.
Can be grown on most soils but prefers a light and moderately acidic soil. Will attract bees and butterflies.


• Cowslip.
Occurs on a range of calcareous and occasionally dry, non-calcareous soils but thrives best in moist, free draining sites. Intolerant of waterlogged soils and is only rarely found in shaded habitat. Great for insects.


There are lots of other yellow flowers that are great for wildlife too – for a full list of golden plants that will get your garden buzzing, visit


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hertfordshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hertfordshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hertfordshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas isn’t complete without a trip to a festive fair. From German-style food stalls to vintage fetes, Hertfordshire’s Christmas markets have it all

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We quiz author Kevin Exley about his new book that takes the reader on the trail of fascinating stories, new and old, around Berkhamsted

Read more
October 2018
Monday, October 29, 2018

Hertfordshire is a county with a vast, fascinating and sometimes dark and bloody history that has reportedly lead to more than a few angry ghosts sticking around to wreak havoc and take revenge on the living. We have gathered 10 of the most haunted places in the county

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Make the most out of autumn with these eight walking routes that take in a variety of Hertfordshire’s terrains and - most importantly – have a cosy pub along the way

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

We've selected a variety of spooky activities in the county that are sure to delight the kids

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Charlotte Hussey explores the fascinating world of bats and new projects in the county to help conserve these remarkable creatures

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is asking the public to look out for mammals on Hertfordshire’s roads as part of a citizen science project

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

From stately homes to skateparks, we have selected some of the best ideas for things to do in Hertfordshire

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The diverse parkland of Pishiobury Park in Sawbridgeworth is undergoing a five-year plan to promote its heritage and enhance its habitats. It makes for a royal day out

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Aldbury to Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire has a plethora of pretty villages. We have picked just 10 that you should visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search