Rotherham River of Flowers Britain’s longest urban meadow

Low Maintenance
Biodiversity
Highways

Brief

To deliver a low maintenance, visually impactful landscaping solution for Rotherham’s highways that protects wildlife and supports the local biodiversity action plan. 

 

Project Detail

Since its inception in 2013, the Rotherham ‘River of Flowers’ has caused a stir. The pioneering initiative, commissioned by the Streetpride team, saw annual mixes sown along 8 miles of verges and roundabouts.

Rotherham Council received a Green Apple award for Environmental Best Practice and 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. Pictures posted to the Wildlife Gardening Forum Facebook page have been shared more than 63,000 times.

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.

At the time the council was spending around £80,000 on cutting the eight miles of grass, seven times a year, with outside contractors providing traffic management when the roads were closed to allow the work to take place. The maintenance was taken back inhouse, as the number of times the council would have to cut the reservations was reduced and so visibility for motorists was improved.

Pictorial Meadows seed mixtures are cleverly engineered so that different flowers and colours come through at different times of the year. The idea is that we get the first flush of colour in March, which are the reds and purples with the poppies and red orach. When those flowers die down the next flowers to appear are the blues, like the cornflowers, which then grow taller and hide the dying remains of the earlier species. Yellows and oranges like the Californian poppies and corn marigolds appear as we get into November.”

Streetpride Manager, Richard Jackson

The gardening team behind the eye-catching, six-mile display from the town centre to Hellaby has now spoken about the care, planning and slick sowing process that goes into bringing it to life every year.


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