While she was here Rachael told me about a farmer in Portglenone who has sowed an entire field in sunflowers with a wide strip of wildflowers surrounding it. He has cut paths through it and welcomed visitors. So, of course, we had to go and see it.
A venture like this is quite a departure for a Northern Irish farmer. As I said to Bert,
It's like something you'd see in Norfolk.
Today they were accepting donations for a local community project and we were happy to hand over a few quid. Sure what else would you be spending it on?
They hope to sell some of the blooms for cut flowers later in the month but Rachael informs me that the most of the sunflowers will feed the birds.
We visited later in the day and there were still a lot of pollinators around but earlier in the day there were masses of them doing their thing.
In this part of the field, the sunflowers were still coming on. Where they were in full flower they were as tall as Bert. He's six foot.
I felt quite inspired by it and hope that maybe we can do something to encourage wildflowers. Maybe we won't plant sunflowers but I am hoping to transform our unmown front garden by cutting and lifting in September and seeing what comes from the existing seedbed. Maybe we'll even persuade the Common Blue butterfly to breed in our garden and to enchant us as they did in Paddy's Field in childhood summers long, long ago.