After my recent dental appointment I had visited the Silverknowes wildflower meadow, which was dancing with white butterflies, it was a lovely sight and passers by were complementing the flowers.
So, the discussion I mentioned at the beginning of the post has revolved around whether it's better to leave areas of grass unmown for most of the year (mowing once a year) or to plant wildflower meadows like those in these photos (which some people argue are unnatural and give people a distorted view of wildflowers).
In some cases the annual mow works beautifully, as you can see in the orchid filled roadside verge on Corstorphine Hill that I blogged about here. That's the ideal, where this minimal management regime allows a rich natural flora to thrive.
On the other hand, not all areas of grassland would be filled with orchids and other delicate flowers if they were allowed to grow naturally. Many would be filled purely with umbellifers and other more obviously weedy species. I've nothing at all against umbellifers, they're beautiful and the insects love them, just look at this myathropa florea hoverfly that I saw in Colinton Dell today (and the hoverflies were chasing each other round this patch of umbellifers!).
And I'm with the hoverflies, both work and work well! So well done to City of Edinburgh Council on providing a variety of habitats for our insects, because they need as much help as they can get!