Pictorial Meadows have been working very closely with local Landscape Architect Miguel Garcia Ovejero to establish Pictorial Meadows in a new park development in central Madrid. Large areas of the park were prepared for seeding and irrigation systems were laid by the local park's workforce. The first year was used to test the effectiveness of the standard PM annual mixes - which proved to be a big success even in the stressful climatic conditions. In 2016 there will be even more areas of the park given over to Pictorial Meadows in both annual and perennial forms - together with specifically designed 'xeri' mixes which can be used in all geographic areas with a Mediterranean climate.
A range of different treatments including irrigation have helped to refine establishment times and treatment in these zones. The quick flowering annuals created a real impact with park visitors and the whole project has given both PM and the management of the park confidence that by using a combination of the right products with a good understanding of the local environmental conditions it is possible to achieve a viable and stunning Mediterranean meadow.
Enterprise Environmental Project
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has chosen to launch a national ecological initiative to commemorate 20 years of business in the UK using Pictorial Meadows expertise and products to create sustainable and beautiful roundabout designs that will last long into the future.
Working in partnership with seven forward-thinking local authorities in Woking, Swindon, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Glasgow, Enterprise and Pictorial Meadows have transformed roundabouts across the country into natural wildflower gardens, promoting local bio-diversity.
The roundabouts were designed by Nigel Dunnett to demonstrate the full range of Pictorial Meadows’ skills, implementing complex naturalistic plantings that use a range of methods from the new PM Turf, PM meadow seed mixes and shrubs and plants grown at Pictorial Meadows’ Manor Oaks Nursery in Sheffield.
Khaled Shahbo, Enterprise UK and Ireland Managing Director said: “Working with the University of Sheffield and Pictorial Meadows on this important project gives us access to some of the country’s leading experts on sustainability, horticulture and urban design. We wanted our 20thbirthday celebration to provide long-term benefits to communities in several areas around the country, particularly in urban areas.”
The roundabouts were planted between October and November 2015 and Enterprise was awarded a Green Apple Award at a Houses of Parliament Award ceremony on 16th November 2015.
Rotherham Borough Council
For the third year in a row the Rotherham ‘River of Flowers’ caused a stir. The annual mixes were sown along 8 miles of verges and roundabouts throughout Rotherham.
Rotherham Council have received a Green Apple award for Environmental Best Practice as well as over 250 compliments for the scheme.
Cllr Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development in Rotherham, commented ‘It looked really fantastic last year with hundreds of compliments received from local residents and visitors as far afield as Scotland, Cornwall and even Australia’.
Rotherham Council chose Pictorial Meadows mixes since they include both native and selected non-native flower wildflowers which provide an extended period of nectar, flowers and seeds that are food sources for many pollinating insects, birds and even some mammals.
They also experienced significant cost savings (£25k) on their on-going management expenses.
Hartlepool Borough Council
Pictorial Meadows were commissioned in 2014 to carry out extensive ground preparation and sowing of annual Pictorial Meadows seed mixes for roadsides and central reservations. This work included 5,000 square meters using Pictorial Meadows ‘Classic’. The response from residents and visitors was extremely positive.
Following the first year result (brilliant visual appeal and significant financial savings) Hartlepool Council extended the display in 2015 to 23,000 square meters of highways – again using the ‘Classic’ mix.
Craig Thelwell, Environmental Services Manager for the Council commented:
‘Just a quick e-mail to say that our wildflowers have been a resounding success and very popular with our Councillors and members of the public – we’ve had a barrage of compliments, particularly when the vivid red poppies were in bloom.’
Coventry City Council
Just one of many local authority and council success stories that Pictorial Meadows have been at the heart of across the UK.
Pictorial Meadow annual mixes were trialled in both parks and highways throughout the City in 2014. The aim was to reduce maintenance along the highway but with all the added value of flowers and providing some inspiring planting for their traditional parks. Three highway locations and four parks were chosen as test sites and were sown with our ‘Classic’ and ‘Pastel’ mixtures.
Coventry City Parks Development Officer commented:
‘We wish to have Green Estate and Pictorial Meadows provide wildflower displays again; last year’s displays were spectacular and very well received by the public.’
As a result of the success of the new meadows, the Council received a barrage of compliments and went on to win a Gold award at the International Green Apple Awards.
South Tyneside Council
South Tyneside Council commissioned Pictorial Meadows to sow annual seed mixes on 63 separate sites across 17 wards. The work was completed across three weeks with the sites looked stunning all summer right up to the first frosts.
The strategy the Council and Pictorial Meadows took to deal with such large areas, over 14 hectares of grassland!, was to only sow the front edges of the grassland with annual meadow seeds and allow the grass to grow longer at the back where it was largely hidden by the flowering spectacle in front!
2015 was the second season that the Council have used Pictorial Meadows seeds as part of their cost-cutting exercise to reduce the expense of gang-mowing their grass areas.
Council Cleared Sites Programme
Sheffield City Council had over 300 hectares of brownfield sites awaiting housing redevelopment. These sites were magnets for fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour. The quality of life for residents still living in the areas was low as was the developers' confidence in building there.
This project formed the catalyst for the Pictorial Meadow solution. Taking the ideas and research from Professor Dunnet out into the most demanding and challenging public realm areas existing.
An initial 3-year strategy of transforming wasteland into vast inner city seed sown meadows started in 2004 and has continued to this day spreading from Sheffield to other northern cities.
Local Schools and community groups were increasingly involved in the process of sowing annual seed and very quickly the neighbourhoods were transformed both in appearance and in terms of a marked reduction in antisocial behaviour.
The programme proved to be a catalyst for other local authorities wishing to undertake similar improvement schemes so Pictorial Meadows have now been involved with Bolton and Leeds housing authorities to great effect.
We would love to hear from any other Local Authorities, Councils or Housing Associations that would like our help and expertise to convert derelict sites into beautiful urban meadows.
Parkhill Flats – The Largest Listed Building in Europe
Its always a pleasure to be involved in ambitious schemes right on our doorstep and when innovative developers, Urban Splash, took over the redevelopment of these troubled but listed homes back in the early 2000’s we knew that we’d eventually see a landscape as ambitious as the wider project itself.
A range of approaches to naturalistic landscape have been taken and like the buildings themselves, delivered in phases. Landscape Architect, Tim Osborne, was looking for a solution for the steep banks and a combination of our PASS 100 compost for planting and pre grown Purple Haze and Golden Summer turf laid over rubble and subsoil banks seems to being doing the trick. The contractors were English Landscapes.
Grey to Green City Centre
In the past, 10 years or so Sheffield has become known for its transformational public realm. Behind this lies the Sheffield City Council Landscape Architectural Team. The latest of their projects is the hugely ambitious Grey to Green Scheme. It’s so jam packed with flowers though that you have to hunt a little for the green. Not only is this new landscape a radical break away from the ugly concrete verge it has replaced but it’s been designed as a massive inner city rain garden taking and filtering the roadside surface water to help purify and reduce downstream flash flooding.
The scheme uses a technique of planting in deep gravel which originated in Germany. Plants used are those more commonly seen in Steppe Meadow landscapes. Landscape Architect and PhD student, Michael Livingstone, under the Supervision of Professor James Hithchmough set up trial beds in 2014 at Pictorial Meadow HQ which are now several years down the path of testing the parameters of this approach in our Northern England environment.
The Pictorial Meadows team were particularly pleased to be awarded the 3 year establishment contract for the Grey to Green scheme and are looking forward to be able to apply this ongoing R+D straight back into making our City Centre more sustainable and beautiful at the same time.