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8-mile strip of wildflowers provides habitat to insects & pollinators while saving £23k mowing costs

Source: RotherhamAdvertiser

UK town Rotherham’s “River of Flowers” is so much more than just a splash of colour

Rotherham’s “River of Flowers” is a real success

The South Yorkshire town of Rotherham has been planting wild flowers along eight miles of highways for the past six years. As well as producing a sensational splash of colour throughout the summer months, it provides a urban habitat for many insects, including bees. Great news for the environment, and the scheme also helps the council save around £23,000 in mowing costs per each two-year cycle.

A scheme to bring vivid colour to the verges of South Yorkshire's roads has saved thousands of pounds in mowing costs.
Rotherham’s wildflower verges give roads splash of colour A scheme to bring vivid colour to the verges of South Yorkshire’s roads has saved thousands of pounds in mowing costs. Source: BBC

8-mile-long “River of Flowers” is a hit in its 6th season

In 2013, Rotherham Council commissioned Pictorial Meadows Ltd to install an eight mile long "River of Flowers" on the central reservations of the town’s main ring road using their wildflower seed mixes.

The Council’s new planting scheme and management of these areas benefits:

  • Rotherham’s wildlife
  • Supports the delivery of the Rotherham Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Reduces the level of maintenance required.

This meadow-type habitat of native wildflowers and bulbs with the addition of selected non-native flower species provides nectar, flowers and seeds and food sources for many insects, birds and even some mammals.

Pictorial Meadows delivered much of the planting at the Olympic Village in London for the 2012 Games.

The scheme has been a real success, as well as being good news for the environment, creating aesthetically pleasing highways and reducing the level of maintenance required, it has helped to save the council approximately £23,000 for each two year cycle.

The Council received over 250 emails and letters of praise in the year following the first germination in July 2013 and continues to receive praise from local residents and from visitors from all over the Country.

Source: RotherhamCouncil

The seeds have been cultivated with locally-grown and blended meadow seed from the restored farm at Sheffield Manor Lodge. Source: rotherham.gov.uk
Red Orache, Fairy Toadflax, various poppies including the Californian Poppy, cornflowers, and corn marigolds. The naturalised bulb planted areas included alliums.
Flower species include: Red Orache, Fairy Toadflax, various poppies including the Californian Poppy, cornflowers, and corn marigolds. The naturalised bulb planted areas included alliums. Source: rotherham.gov.uk
They are a mix of annuals, which have a long flowering season achieved by using a successional approach as well as low growing early flowers which bloom against the fresh foliage of the later-flowering species.
A proportion of later-flowering species grow tall hiding the remains of the earlier species. They are a mix of annuals, which have a long flowering season achieved by using a successional approach as well as low growing early flowers which bloom against the fresh foliage of the later-flowering species. Source: rotherham.gov.uk
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, Councillor Sarah Allen, said: “As well as producing a delightful display of colour through the summer months, this provides a habitat for many insects including bees, and we were really pleased to see this recognised by the British Bee Keeping Association and so many others on social media over the last few days.”
These photos were posted by The British Beekeeping Association Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, Councillor Sarah Allen, said: “As well as producing a delightful display of colour through the summer months, this provides a habitat for many insects including bees, and we were really pleased to see this recognised by the British Bee Keeping Association and so many others on social media over the last few days.” Source: Facebook/EnViralmental
Road verges in Rotherham are in bloom Wildflowers are bringing busy South Yorkshire roads to life! Source: Facebook/BBC
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