Who we are.
On the Verge is a Stirling based, voluntary, community project established in 2010.
What we do.
We work with community groups in and around Stirling and Clackmananshire to establish and develop areas of native wildflowers, both annual and perennial.
Why we do it.
Bee numbers have declined in recent years for a number of reasons, some of which are not yet fully understood. However, most experts agree that a significant factor is a reduction of floral food resources in the countryside due to large-scale agricultural activity. Evidence shows that bees and other pollinators are moving to urban areas in search of food, attracted by the nectar-rich garden plants. It makes sense to support bee populations by managing our urban green-spaces in a way that helps bridge the feeding gap left by changes to our countryside, and that is the inspiration for On the Verge.
How we do it.
If you or your community group would like to establish a wildflower patch we will help identify a suitable area, offer guidance in seeking permission from the landowner, help organise the preparation of the site, supply the seed free of charge and offer support and guidance for the sowing process. We ask that you and your team act as “guardians” for the site (this simply involves keeping an eye on the site and letting us know how it progresses) and together we work to make sure the flowers develop year after year. Alternatively, if there is an existing area of wildflowers that you would like to manage and develop we can help you draw up an action plan.
Between 2011 and 2020 OTV has;
Held 97 Different sowing events
Worked with 100 organisations
Sown 10,000 m² of land sown with wildflowers
Stirling’s 'Unpaid Volunteers Service' (formally known as The Criminal Justice Service) help to prepare some of our sites for us, and we are very grateful for their support.
Stirling Council has supported the project from the outset by sowing up large areas of wildflowers throughout the city, and beyond, with some spectacular results.
Our seed mix.
We have developed a special “On the Verge” mix in conjunction with Scotia Seeds from whom we purchase all our wildflower seed. It has an annual component of four species which will flower in the first year and around twenty perennial species which will develop over subsequent years. We aim to include flowers which are popular with people whilst still offering rich sources of nectar for a wide variety of pollinators.
Does it work?
On the Verge sites have been the subject of published research by the University of Stirling. Control sites of short managed grass were compared with sites in their first year (annual flowerings) and second year and older sites (perennial flowerings). Both first and second year sites attracted many more bees than the control sites, however, data showed that the perennial flowers attracted a far, greater abundance and diversity of bees than the annuals as the graph below illustrates. The research on thirty OTV sites showed that they had 25 times more flowers, 50 times more bumblebees, and 13 times more hoverflies compared to adjacent mown grass and those numbers increased as the plants matured in subsequent years. This is because the perennial plants offer a wider range of flower shapes, appealing to a greater variety of bee species, and being more mature plants, offer superior nutritional levels than the annuals. Although the annual flowers are very popular with community groups, as they can look spectacular, the perennials are of most value to pollinators by a long way, and will continue to grow year after year, only requiring an annual cutback around the time of the last grass-cutting.
Blackmore, L.M. Goulson, D. (2014)Evaluating the effectiveness of wildflower seed mixes for boosting floral diversity and bumblebee and hoverfly abundance in urban areas.
How to get involved
On the Verge offers a practical and simple pathway for members of the local community to take action to improve their local environment for the benefit of pollinator populations.
You can find out more about us at www. facebook.com/OnTheVergeStirling.
If you would like to get involved you can contact us at email@example.com.