Mud, mud, glorious mud...

The flower beds in the Italian Gardens at Abbey Park, Torquay, pictured last summer when a mix of flowers were in bloom.

The flower beds in the Italian Gardens at Abbey Park, Torquay, pictured last summer when a mix of flowers were in bloom - Credit: Groundwork South

The last visit to Westerland Valley Country Park didn’t go so well. 

Although the appropriate footwear - wellington boots - were worn, a good slide and splat in the mud was still achieved.

And the mud at Westerland isn’t just any mud, of course, it’s Torbay mud; that thick, red, sticky mud that doesn’t quite wash out of your clothes, especially wool – just ask those pink sheep you see in the fields around here.

But why is mud important when we’re talking about green spaces?

Not all mud, or more accurately soil, is created equal, as any soil scientist will tell you - or geologist, gardener, civil engineer, farmer, etc.

This fact matters because soil influences which plants will thrive, which in turn shapes how the land can be used and therefore how we are able to make use of green spaces in a way that meets the needs of our community.

Want to create a native wildflower meadow in your local park?

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You may find that the soil is just too fertile – many wildflowers prefer soil that is low in nutrients.

Want to grow vegetables on that small plot of green space in your neighbourhood? You may find that the soil is not fertile enough for some veg.

However, that doesn’t mean abandoning plans, it just calls for a bit of modification, compromise and ingenuity.

Bumblebee collecting and suck nectar on flowers on blurred background .Close up.

A bumblebee collecting and suck nectar on flowers - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A native wildflower meadow may not be possible but repurposing existing flower beds from growing traditional bedding plants to seeding a mix of flowering plants that provide nectar for pollinators can be just as eye-catching and still be beneficial for insects and invertebrates. 

A 'traditional' veg plot may not work but creating an area for other edible plants such as low maintenance herbs or even fruit trees could still benefit your community and provide a local source of fresh ingredients.

So, next time you’re squelching through the mud, just remember how important it is and what glorious things can grow from it.

To find out more about how to get involved with Green Spaces in Torbay, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk