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Wildflowers bring colour to Exeter's roadside verges and green spaces

Published: 21 June 2023

Wildflowers bring colour to Exeter's roadside verges and green spaces Wildflowers are blooming

Wildflowers are blooming throughout Exeter as colourful displays break out on roadside verges, roundabouts and various patches of land across the city.

The June blooms follow the sowing of wild flower seeds throughout the city as part of the Wild City project.

Wild City – now over ten years old - sees Exeter City Council work closely with Devon Wildlife Trust to encourage nature into the city.

Not only are the impressive displays of colour beautiful to look at, they also attract a wide variety of insects and pollinators. The Council captured these colourful displays in Prince Charles Road.

Over recent years the wild flower displays have proved popular with residents and visitors alike.

Initially the Council chose 32 sites. Community groups and schools were involved in the planting. New areas have been added over the years.

At the end of each year, the wildflower beds are left to naturally form seed to fall onto the land and create a wildflower seed bank to start the process again the following year.

Wildflowers in Exetet

Often this takes time to become self-generating and most years the Council has to add to the seed bank to keep it thriving. It uses a mixture of annuals, perennials and native species of seed.

The initiative means that not so much grass across the city needs to be cut, saving money and allowing a better standard of grass cutting elsewhere where it needs to be cut.

Large areas of highways grass were left uncut from March onwards. As the grass grows at different rates this can look messy for the first two cuts of the season but it serves many purposes. Primarily it reduces pollutants in the air & provides valuable habitat for biodiversity and meets the City Council’s climate and ecology emergency declarations. It also helps natural wildflowers populate where they haven’t in the past because the soil was too rich for them.

Cllr Ruth Williams, Lead Councillor for Place and City Management, said: “Now that ‘No Mow May’ is over, people can expect to see a gradual reduction in the levels of meadow grass left across the city as the team starts to increase the amount of grass they are cutting.

“From now onwards the team will start to gradually cut more and more road side verges on each subsequent round, and once cut will maintain them ongoing till the end of the season,” she added.

However, key wildlife areas and arterials routes as well as grass around the base of trees (such as Topsham road) will continue to be left uncut to meet ecology goals and instead cut at the end of the year.

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