Sefton Council saves thousands of pounds by replacing ornamental beds with wild flower meadows

Sefton council has essentially halved its costs by replacing formal and traditional flower beds with wildflower meadows in 40% of its urban green space.

wild flower meadow

“We have moved away from a traditional, ornamental approach towards a more naturalistic style.  This looks pretty good and has clear benefits to biodiversity” said Mark Shaw, the Green Space Manager.  Shaw claims that the planting contributed to an overall £2 million saving made by the council park department over the past five years.

Wildflower meadows cost very little

Shaw disagrees with park consultants who suggest that wildflower meadows are a false economy because they need a lot of skill to maintain and can revert to less desirable plants such as docks and nettles.

Certainly, creating a wildflower meadow is more complicated that simply letting a grassy area grow long and hoping that flowering plants spontaneously arrive.

The ground must be carefully prepared to make sure that pernicious weeds such as bindweed, nettles and docks are well and truly eliminated.  Then, if at all possible, the nutrient levels in the soil should be reduced.  A proper seedbed will give the new plants the best possible start in life and last, but by no means least, the mixture of wildflowers and grasses needs to be suitable for the conditions available…..no trying to establish sun-lovers in permanent shade.

With careful forethought and thorough preparation, there is no reason at all why parks, corporate grounds and domestic gardens cannot support a wide variety of native plants and the creatures that will automatically come to visit.   We’re not just talking delightful colours, gentle movement, low maintenance and retro-chic, we’re talking butterflies, bees, small mammals, birds, bats and a whole host of ecological benefits.

Take a look at our video to  find out how successfully establish a money-saving wild flower meadow.

 

Watch the video

 

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