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Grow Wild and pick a favourite flower in Northern Ireland

By Stephanie Baine

Published 13/10/2015

Wild flowers
Wild flowers

Can helping our natural surroundings improve our society? The answer is yes. For the past two years, I have been a part of Grow Wild in Northern Ireland and seen the massive benefits that have bloomed locally.

Grow Wild is a huge wild flower campaign, supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, aiming to bring colour to local spaces and boost community spirit by reviving a connection to our local wild flowers.

Dozens of community projects have already made a difference across Northern Ireland, while we also give away a huge number of native wild flower seeds to people who are interested - with 3,000 extra seed kits available through the Belfast Telegraph, starting today.

Now and for the next four weeks, the Northern Ireland public is in a position to choose its own wild flower centrepiece, allocating £120,000 to kickstart Grow Wild's flagship project here.

We were inundated with plans and our finalists represent the best of these: three very different ideas that could transform areas in Belfast, Londonderry and Coleraine.

City of Wildflowers will bring colour to all corners of Belfast for everyone to enjoy, improve biodiversity and reinvigorate well-known sites.

Flowers of Foyle will see a wild flower "river" flow from Creggan Country Park to the River Foyle and across the iconic Peace Bridge, while the Cornfield Project will use wildflowers and community activities to bolster an underused area between two Coleraine estates - bringing people together to enjoy wild flowers through sensory gardens, outdoor classrooms, allotments, youth areas, events and much more.

Each of these is a fantastic idea that would be a credit to Grow Wild and - more importantly - a great addition to Northern Ireland's wonderful natural landscape that will also bring communities together.

It's up to you - please pick your favourite and have your say.

Voting can be done online at voteni.growwilduk.com, or by phone. To vote for City of Wild Flowers, call 0808 228 7701. For Flowers of Foyle, call 0808 228 7702. And for the Cornfield Project, call 0808 228 7703. Voting closes on November 1.

Stephanie Baine is Northern Ireland manager of Grow Wild

Belfast Telegraph

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