Coventry is maybe not the first city that springs to mind when you think of beauty. Bombed heavily during the Second World War, it suffered a questionable number of architectural decisions during its regeneration. However, it is a city that is currently undergoing a second reformation – and with it there is a blaze of colour returning to the suburbs.
Cutting its way through the terraces and estates on the edge of the city there is a vibrant strip of wildflowers dissecting the grey dual carriageways. Blue, purple, yellow, white – they form a veritable feast of biodiversity. The presence of the wildflowers is no accident; road verges come under Coventry’s Biodiversity Action Plan, and in 2014 experiments began with managing verges for wildflower growth.
Coventry is just one of a number of councils that have taken such a management approach in recent years, and here at Seedball we’re keen to encourage more to follow suit. We’re encouraging councils to sign up to the #nomow campaign and at the bottom of this blog you’ll find some advice on how to get involved, but first here’s five reasons why you should encourage your council to enjoy the benefits of managing roadside verges for wildflower growth:
- The aesthetics – there is no easier way to bring coloured hues to the grey strips of tarmac that dissect a region.
- Encouraging wildflower growth means less management – while wildflower verges still require occasional mowing, this does not need to occur during the flowering season. As the cuttings from mowing rot down they can smoother wildflower growth and contribute nitrogen to the soil. Wildflowers actually require less nitrogen meaning that they thrive well on poorer soils.
- Food banks – it’s no secret that pollinator populations are not doing so well at the moment, and verges can act as vital supermarkets for hundreds of pollinator species.
- Pollinator corridors – roadside verges can also be corridors that allow the movement of individuals between areas and prevent species from becoming geographically isolated.
- The potential – Britain has 280,000 hectares of roadside verges, which is twice the amount of grassland that remains in the countryside. Imagine the biodiverse patchwork of colour that we could create!
You can support the #nomow campaign in several ways: