Ireland is home to some of the most vibrant and interesting native flora and fauna which have rooted on this island thanks to our particular climate, native pollinators, luscious green pastures, folklore rich forests and coastal landscape. Protecting our native species of plants and animals should be one of our main collective goals, and together we can share resources and develop sustainable practices which will strengthen our native eco-systems.
An easy and effective way to encourage biodiversity in your area is through supporting native plants that emerge by allowing them to flourish. This may mean making some adjustments and choosing what is best for them, compared to how we want our gardens to look. Often we can find a compromise by allocating a particular area in our gardens to biodiversity, natural wildlife and climate conscious actions. When we feel overwhelmed about where to begin with helping the planet, and our natural wildlife, it is great to start within our own spaces and do the best we can with the resources available to us.
How’s she, not cuttin’? Another excellent way to further enhance biodiversity in our own garden is through mowing our lawns less often or during certain months, not at all. Likewise, there are lots of native Irish animals who might inhabit or frequent our gardens such as hedgehogs, squirrels, and foxes (even their city slicker urban foxy cousins) along with native Irish birds such as the cherished Robin who we want to keep safe and nurture. Make sure to use organic, natural and pesticide free substances which are not harmful to our wildlife or waterways so that these animals can stop, smell the flowers, splash in a bird bath, maybe chew on your garden furniture, and leave unharmed.
Don’t skimp on the good stuff! While planting cheap wildflower seeds may seem like one of the best ways to pollinate an area in a short amount of time, many commercially available wildflower seed packets contain non-native and invasive species. If you decide to plant wildflower seed, you should always source carefully selected native Irish seeds and sew these within your own garden or owned spaces. Our socks of nature stocaí are inspired by Irish native flowers and come with a free sustainably packaged variety of native, organic wildflower seeds which attract butterflies and busy bees. There are over twenty species of bumblebee in Ireland and they are vital pollinators of crops and wild plants. These insects are essential to a healthy ecosystem and are in the buzzness of helping the environment.
We have chosen to illustrate a variety of native wildflowers on our socks which offer both sustenance and beauty to our landscape and all those who inhabit it. Vipers Buglos are bright blue flowers which provide food for butterflies. Lady’s Bedstraw has an interesting history of being used as a filling for mattresses and is commonly found on cliffs, roadsides and meadows while being a significant for pollinators such as bees. Harebell is a native perennial wildflower which folklore suggests grew in places frequented by hares, or was said to have been used by witches to transform into these magical creatures. Fuchsia is a little flower which travelled all the way from Chile and now grows naturally in Ireland’s hedgerows. Spring Gentian resides in an area just over the road in the luscious limestone land of the Burren.
Some other Irish native flowers of importance are Gorse which is an ideal refuge for nesting birds, and an important nectar source for insects. Another source of sustenance for butterflies is Sea Aster. This stunning perennial wildflower is typically found along the picturesque and rugged Irish coastline and in deep marsh land. The Buttercup, which is a childhood favourite and clear indicator of whether you like butter or not, grows freely in damp, dewy spring grasslands, something Ireland has lots of. These yellow rays of sunshine are great for pollinators. Cowslips are a rare and beautiful Irish flower that is thankfully now making a return to our shores. If you grew up helping out on the bog, you’ll know all about Bog-rosemary, a native shrub which loves moisture dense areas and thrives in the Irish midlands. Similarly, the Easter Lily flourish here because they love our cooler climate. All of these flowers enjoy Ireland as their home, and provide resources for other creatures, so it’s our job to make sure that they are treated with respect and heaps of grá.