Constructed on the site of a former car park in west London, Sky UK’s prestigious new 5 hectare campus boasts state of the art office space, TV studios, production facilities, research and development zones, health centre and cafes. The site is now the centre of operations for the Sky organisation in the UK and is surrounded by a landscape that is intended to bring a sense of joy to people’s lives – where staff can relax and socialise in a beautiful environment which is also a rich habitat for wildlife.
Pictorial Meadows were originally contacted about the project by URBAN – a leading Landscape Architecture practice responsible for many prestigious projects in the UK and overseas. They had been tasked with designing the outside space of the new campus with a brief based on a contemporary English garden style that would give interest throughout the year and included the requirement for a visually dynamic and sustainable meadow. The meadow not only had to be stunning, it also had to be quick to establish and low on maintenance. There were also quite distinct areas on the campus which needed a meadow which would be tolerant of light shade and another for the more open, sunny areas.
Following a consultation visit to the site and a series of drafted proposals the final selection of meadow types was made – Woodland Edge for the more shaded areas and Purple Haze for the open areas. The other requirement from the URBAN team was that the meadow had to be ‘established’ for the planned opening in the summer of 2016 so the only feasible way to achieve this requirement was to use PM Turf. This would enable very quick establishment of the meadows and allow them to blend in harmoniously with the rest of the planted landscape which included a 250m ecological corridor, over 100,000 individual plants and 264 new trees.
Pictorial Meadows supplied over 2,000 square meters of PM Turf to the campus and within a few weeks the meadows had established and created amazingly floriferous areas of the landscape where bees, butterflies and other pollinators congregate – along with the many lucky Sky staff.
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.
As an iconic Capability Brown landscape, The Trentham Estate brought in Professor Nigel Dunnett to carry out design and consultation works ahead of the planned year of celebrations in 2016 to celebrate Brown’s tercentenary. These works identified clearing large areas of woodland and diseased Rhododendrons to put in new contemporary planting.
Approximately 9,000 square metres of open spaces were created by these clearances, giving the perfect opportunity to use Pictorial Meadows on a larger scale.
The ground was prepared and PM Classic mix was sown by the Pictorial Meadows specialist teams in the spring of 2015 and soon filled the cleared area with an astonishing 7000m² of high impact displays right through until the first frosts.
The feedback from the thousands of visitors to the Estate was nothing short of amazing and attracted very positive PR for Trentham from BBC coverage.
This beautiful private home is also a place which extends a generous welcome to children with disabilities. It also supports charities through participation in the National Garden Scheme. The owner so much enjoyed the Olympic Park meadows that the brief via his Landscape Architect had been ‘a piece of the Olympic Park that we can see from our bedroom’.
With such a rural setting the planting needed to look natural whilst delivering long season high impact colours. Added to incrementally over 2 years the team have established largely Woodland Edge and Golden Summer mixes through a mixture of turf and seed. Ongoing management has had a light touch and benefited from a great on site Gardening Team who have been keen to learn how to keep manage the meadows themselves in the long term.
Craig Vitulli, St Mary’s Grounds and Gardens Manager, approached Pictorial Meadows to design an area using seed mixes. He had seen the work previously carried out in Richmond Borough Parks with Pictorial Meadows and wanted to bring that look to St Mary’s.
Craig says “We were much inspired to make the changes in the grounds by the work which had been completed in the local authority managed area of Crane Park. Pictorial Meadows were chosen as the contractor as they are a recognised wildflower meadow specialist with a proven track record – in order to ensure we got the finish we were looking for!”
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.
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.
Bodnant Gardens is a very important visitor attraction in North Wales – renowned for it’s 80 acre stunning gardens containing many rare species collected on global expeditions more than a century ago.
Bodnant’s Head Gardener decided to add a brand new feature and replace a long standing formal herbaceous bed with a beautiful annual Pictorial Meadow. The result was a stunning addition to the gardens which visitors loved and also created a great deal of favourable PR in the media for Bodnant Gardens.
Bodnant is famous for its beautiful roses, water lilies and perfect beds, borders and lawns – very formal – but in 2014 they decided to introduce a Pictorial Meadow on to the Italianate terraces.
The Pictorial Meadow border, next to the grand, listed old Pin Mill building in the National Trust garden was made using Pictorial Meadows Pastel annual meadow mix and has been proven to be a huge success with visitors.
Head gardener John Rippin stated:
“It’s something people don’t expect to see in a formal garden but visitors have absolutely loved it and are already asking us to do it again next year. The bees and butterflies are loving it too!”
One of the gardeners who created the display, Ros, said:
“You only have to sow a tiny amount of seed per square metre and it’s quite hard to get an even spread. I was on tenterhooks waiting to see if they would take but the display has been amazing and exceeded all our expectations. The bed has been absolutely full of flowers and is teeming with wildlife”.
“You can see the display changing as the time goes on and different flowers come out. Visitors have loved it. It would be great to do the same again next year here or elsewhere in the garden where there is empty space. We could make it an annual event.”
Pictorial Meadows are the perfect solution for domestic gardeners seeking a naturalistic look but without the heartache normally associated with trying to establish a traditional meadow. The seed mixes and PMTurf are optimised for growing on any average garden soils and requiring nothing more than a clean, weed-free seedbed in order to establish themselves.
For gardeners they offer an amazing reward and return for minimal inputs – being the most floriferous meadow mixtures available which are hugely attractive to pollinators and other wildlife. We sell to gardeners and landowners all over the UK, and increasingly, overseas – sometimes in very large quantities but often as small packets where they are used to fill beds that would normally be filled with traditional bedding plants.
We run an annual photographic competition where we invite our customers to submit pictures of their Pictorial Meadows for a prize and entry into our ‘Hall of Fame’.
Over the years this has been incredibly popular and we have had some beautiful images of ‘home-grown’ meadows sent in to us which demonstrate just how versatile these meadows are for gardeners.
The photos shown are just a small example of the many hundreds we grateful receive every year. Please keep sending them to us!
Read a nice little blog post about our seeds courtesy of Huw Jenkins, who also made a lovely video…
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.’