By Millie Hurst published
Millions of us turned to gardening as a form of solace during an uncertain year, growing our own vegetables and planting up pots as a way to get outside.
Over lockdown, we had plenty of time to come up with wildlife garden ideas that look great and support the environment, including growing a lovely wildflower patch. But a huge increase in demand for seeds has unfortunately contributed to a shortage, along with climate change.
According to a UK-based wildflower seed company called Seedball, orders are still coming in thick and fast. Lots of budding gardeners ordering seeds for the first time – coupled with last autumn's poor harvest – has resulted in a nationwide shortage.
'Unfortunately, the harvest did not produce enough seeds to meet the demand, following the unusually hot spring in 2020,' comments Seedball Co-founder & Director, Dr Emily Attlee.
'With increasingly variable and extreme weather patterns being recorded, and dire climate change reports, there may be further seed shortages on the horizon.'
She highlights that heatwaves and record temperatures will negatively affect wildflower growth. So climate change has a huge knock-on effect on local environments and habitats by limiting the number of wildflowers and wildflower seeds for the future.
Seedball also reveals that large landscaping projects that require seeds have now started up again, after being delayed during the pandemic. Personal and commercial demand has therefore put a significant strain on resources.
In the US, seed companies have seen an enormous increase in orders, too. The owner of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri, tells the BBC that the whole seed industry hadn't seen anything like the demand back in March 2020 since the Great Depression.
The shortage comes as Monty Don warns of a plant shortage too, encouraging his fans to stock up on spring bulbs early, planning spring garden ideas well in advance. 'Most plants are in short supply at the moment through a combination of the effects of the pandemic and Brexit,' he writes on his blog.
'So it is a good idea to order your spring-flowering bulbs in good time, so they can be planted in September or October (although tulips should not be planted until November),' says Monty.
It's brilliant to see this new enthusiasm for gardening and interest in learning how to plant a wildflower meadow. But extreme weather due to climate change, plus Brexit, has meant supply simply hasn't been able to meet demand.
Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. At this time of year, she enjoys getting festive with some wreath making and loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden. She loves picking up new plants at the local garden center and is never without some fresh flowers at home. Her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.
Where to buy garden furniture in stock now: the 2022 edit
Furniture The top garden furniture in stock for 2022; where to buy outdoor furniture to make the most of your outside space, whatever the weather
By Amy Lockwood • Published
Best plants for pollinators: 25 ways to help wildlife in your plot
Plants The best plants for pollinators will attract butterflies, bees, moths and birds to your garden and provide them with the food they need for their survival
By Geraldine Sweeney • Published