Roundabout meadows in bloom at end of two-year project

Seven roundabouts across the UK have burst into bloom with a profusion of meadow flowers, bulbs and hardy perennials.

Meadow on roundabout in Woking. Image: Supplied
Meadow on roundabout in Woking. Image: Supplied

Local authorities in Glasgow, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Swindon and Woking identified suitable roadside locations for the gardens, which were designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett of the landscape department at the University of Sheffield. The roundabouts were then planted by Pictorial Meadows.

The project was funded by a £130,000 donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Rent-A-Car which is celebrating 20 years in the UK.

In all, two acres of meadow were planted in the autumn and winter of 2015, together with a range of bulbs, shrubs and flowering species carefully selected for the climate and growing conditions prevalent in each location.

Meadow mats, developed by the University of Sheffield and implemented by Pictorial Meadows, were pre-grown at a site in Lincolnshire to provide sufficient meadow for the Enterprise project. The mats were grown off-site to allow for intensive irrigation essential to ensuring the young plants establish a strong root base.

The seed mixes used on the roundabouts will flower year on year with the minimum of care - cutting maintenance costs for local authorities and reducing the disruption to traffic that can occur when taking gardening equipment onto roundabouts. The mix of plants at each site also fosters biodiversity and wildlife, particularly bees and butterflies.

Dunnett said: "This project was very exciting because it offered a chance to demonstrate the impact that these perennial designs can have on communities for the long-term. Over the years we have worked with many local authorities on wildflower projects that have created visually stunning displays quickly, but only for a year or two.

"The planting on these roundabouts will have longevity. They will flower year after year with quite minimal attention, because Enterprise and the local authorities involved were willing to engage in this project for the long-term."

Sheffield Park Square roundabout. Image: Supplied

Dan Cornwell, Pictorial Meadows' operations director, oversaw the whole project from the first scoping out at each location to the laying of the company's' perennial turf.

He said: "Our mission at Pictorial Meadows is to channel the University of Sheffield research into viable products that can easily be used by local authorities and developers to improve urban spaces.

"This project is very important because it allows us to showcase how this new approach to the development of perennial meadows can make a real difference. It can transform how councils plan the greening of local communities while reducing maintenance costs."

THE ROUNDABOUTS

• Sherlock Street roundabout, Birmingham
• Drumry Road roundabout, Glasgow
• Middleton roundabout, Leeds
• East Prescott Road roundabout, Liverpool
• Park Square roundabout, Sheffield
• Elgin Drive and Kembrey Park roundabouts, Swindon
• Robin Hood Road roundabout, Woking


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