Changing Public Perception with Wildflowers

A CASE STUDY – TRANSFORMING A NEGLECTED AREA

The Borough of Kings Lyn and West Norfolk wanted to transform an area that had been neglected over the years and subsequently blighted with anti-social behaviour. They wanted to find a solution to this overgrown site to encourage the local residents back into the adjoining park and change public perception of this area that had developed a bad reputation amongst the wider community.

Kettlewell Lane 5

After compulsory purchasing the land, the project clean-up and clearance was managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, due to otters, water vole and many other species that lived within the area. It was decided that by introducing a high impact wildflower display, the creation of a pictorial meadow would positively change the way people feel about the area. The council went about researching the best way to establish wildflowers to create quick but long lasting results.

Kettlewell Lane 1 Kettlewell Lane 2 Kettlewell Lane 3 Kettlewell Lane 4

THE WORK

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust set up volunteer days and carefully cleared the very overgrown area. After clearance the site was treated with an application of glyphosate and any further material raked off the surface a couple of weeks later. No further ground preparation was required as the council had decided to use Wildflower Earth®, a pre-seeded growing medium that is simply spread over the sprayed off area without the need for rotovation. Within the Wildflower Earth® was a mix of high impact annuals, (to ensure a strong show of colour in the first year) and perennial wildflowers.

THE RESULTS

The results are clear to see from a visual perspective but benefits go far beyond aesthetics. The Borough Council reported a very positive change in the public’s reaction to the area. Whilst the land has been tidied up, it still provides a beneficial habitat for many different forms of wildlife, as well as being a magnet for pollinators. The meadow then required just one maintenance cut at the end of the flowering season, allowing the area to green-up and over winter as the perennials take over the following year.

Kings Lyn 2

KEY FACTS ABOUT WILDFLOWER EARTH IN AMENITY AREAS

This project is a classic example of the way wildflowers can engage and enthuse people. In a community area, involving a volunteer group can win hearts and minds and give a sense of ownership with a far greater likelihood of long term success for the meadow. It is acceptable that plants take time to flower, but it mustn’t take too long and the establishment phase must work first time. If not, enthusiasm quickly wains and an opportunity is lost. In this case using a mix of annuals and perennials in a pre-seeded growing medium (Wildflower Earth®) was the perfect solution. Wildflower Earth® provides an accurate seed rate in a growing medium blended to provide exceptional levels of seed and establishment. The results are considerably better than conventional methods of seeding flowers. Annuals offer a reliable first season flush of vibrant colour as the perennials establish to create a longer term display in years to come. The installation of meadows to public green spaces also results in lower man hour input and subsequent long term benefits to maintenance budgets.

This is just a small insight into how the pioneering products of Wildflower Turf Ltd can transform public spaces and are rapidly becoming a multi-faceted solution to amenity landscapes. This wonderful case study from Kings Lyn and West Norfolk Borough Council typifies many of the brilliant projects that we are working on up and down the country with local authorities and other guardians of our parks and green spaces.

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