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Meadows bloom across London’s parks and roadsides

By deliar
27th June 2024

Recent warm weather has brought out colourful displays across London’s parks and streetscapes.

This vibrant splash of wild flowers reflects changing approaches to roadside management, as well as the efforts of local communities and neighbourhood gardening groups.

Around seven in 10 councils make efforts to encourage wildflowers on road verges, as a simple but effective way to boost biodiversity.

Native plants create diverse habitats that support a wide range of species from inspects to birds and small mammals.

In urban areas, wildflower patches create green corridors connecting isolated habitat and allowing wildlife to move and disperse.

Using vehicles and machinery less to cut verges can save on carbon emissions, while councils who have made the move frequently said cost savings were part of the reason, and some highlighted that cutting less often could reduce road disruption.

One council active in this area is Redbridge in east London, which promotes bio-diversity schemes and wildflower meadows on the highway in dedicated Grow Zones.

The grass at these locations is left to grow to encourage wildflowers and grasses to sow their seeds. The areas are cut and collected once or twice a year.

In 2021 and 2022, five sites were monitored to make a note of wildflower and grass species during the year. 116 different plants were identified in 2021 and 162 in 2022, showing an increase in biodiversity between the two years.

Meadows are also becoming more common in Hackney’s parks.

Meadows can take different forms from the highly colourful pictorial meadow, in London Fields to the more subtle grass meadow in South Millfields.

Wildflower meadows consist of British wildflower species such as the corncockle, poppy or oxeye daisy and a mix of grasses.

Meadows are sown in either the spring or autumn. They can include annual and perennial species. This combination ensures a great splash of colour and that the meadow blooms year after year.

London’s gardeners can do their bit by allowing grass to grow longer, and planting wildlife friendly plants, such as lavender and buddleia.

As well as the environmental benefits, town-dwellers are cheered by the sight of wildflowers blooming alongside the capital’s traffic lanes.

CPRE London works to safeguard London’s green spaces. Find out more here Green space for all – CPRE London

wild flowers
A small meadow blooms at Higham's Park