Wildflower whispers!

Now is the time when we most need our pollinators, and our pollinators need wildflowers to thrive. One of the principles of permaculture is that borders and boundaries are the most productive areas, not least the verges of roadsides, paths and brooks. And wildflowers have an understated beauty that is much greater than showy tame garden blooms.

So I have been feeling sad over the last few days about the acres of wildflowers in the verges in Exeter that are being strimmed through ignorance and wilful tidymindedness, and took it upon myself to protest a little…

It turns out that Exeter City Council monitors their Twitter feed properly, and I was quite impressed with their epic response:

… cut grass round the city.
1. Grass around the city (and there are thousands of patches) is cut on a round basis. So if a piece of grass is missed during a round, it usually wouldn’t be cut until the next round which would be 3 weeks away at the least.
2. Whilst some appreciate longer grass, wildflowers etc, there are many other residents who prefer short neatly cut grass and complain if the grass gets (in their opinion) too long.
3. When it does come to eventually cutting longer grass areas it becomes more difficult and requires different machinery
4. Whilst we encourage biodiversity in various ways, and have recently developed specific wildflower areas – it is very difficult to cut grass (or not) reactively because as and when wild flowers take seed. Areas that are to be left longer generally need to be planned.
5. Grass verges are cut under contract to Devon County Council Highways, so they would have to make the final decision about whether a particular verge could be left. There are also issues with some verges where uncut growth could block vision at a junction.

And in my reply…

…TwitLonger with my own…
1. Please (please please) err on the side of appreciating longer grass, wildflowers etc, rather than short neatly cut grass. I wonder whether people who want lawn deserts know where their food comes from or how dependent we are on the web of nature. You will of course be damned if you do and damned if you don’t!
2. Presumably you already have the machinery to cut the longer grass and flowers. Cutting it less frequently may then save money?
3. The areas I mentioned are not road-side verges. One was a small bank at the end of Aspen Close leading into Ludwell Valley Park. I’m not even sure whether it belongs to a house or is part of LVP. The other is along the Northbrook (as it is labelled on Google Maps, not Wonford Brook as I then thought it was called) between Woodwater Lane and Ludwell Lane.
4. There is a splendid galaxy of wildflowers at the corner of Quarry Park Road turning left into Woodwater Lane. Please protect it! Will tweet this to Devon CC too.

And that would probably have been much easier to assemble in Storify.