8-mile strip of wildflowers in Rotherham, UK provides habitat to insects and pollinators

8-mile strip of wildflowers in Rotherham, UK provides habitat to insects and pollinators

The "River of Flowers" was designed to help provide pollinators and other insects with a habitat while saving 23K in maintenance costs

One of the largest problems facing pollinators like bees and other insects is the overabundance of pesticide use and the damage done by a fixation on super-manicured lawns. One town in the South Yorkshire region called Rotherham has come up with a beautiful and innovative way to help fix the damage. In 2013, the Rotherham Council commissioned Pictorial Meadows Ltd to install an eight mile long patch of flowers on the central reservations of the town’s main ring road using their wildflower seed mixes.


The seeds have been cultivated with locally-grown and blended meadow seed from the restored farm at Sheffield Manor Lodge. Source: rotherham.gov.uk



For the last six years, the town has been planting wild flowers along an eight mile strip of highway. When the flowers bloom in summer they become a stunning display of colors and they provide an urban environment for bees and other pollinators to use. 

For those fiscal conservatives, there's another bonus: the council saves £23,000 every two years from maintenance costs. 

Now in its 6th season, the "River of Flowers" has been a huge success for the community.

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.
In addition to their work in Rotherham, Pictorial Meadows delivered much of the planting at the Olympic Village in London for the 2012 Games.
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.


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                   



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                   




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