Let's manage our road verges like hay meadows! #nomow
There are 238,000 hectares of road verge in Britain, twice as much grassland than is left in the countryside! Road verges and hedgerows are home to over a thousand species. Amazingly this often overlooked habitat supports two thirds of all our wild flowers. With the loss of our natural meadows, wildflowers on road verges (and railway sidings) play a vital role as a food source for our declining pollinator populations.
Of course, verges need management, however mowing too often, especially at the height of the flowering season, means flowers are cut before they can set seed and return energy to the rootstock. If not removed, the cuttings smother the flowers and add nitrogen to the soil as they rot down, yet, most wild flowers thrive on poor soil.
The good news is that the best management requires doing less; leaving verges to develop naturally and wildflowers to set seed before any mowing takes place. Turning verges into wildflower reserves is not only great for wildflowers and wildlife, it also brings character to an area and, as verges are one of the most viewed habitats in the country, provides a much needed and valued connection between people and countryside. Promoting natural vegetation can also strengthen resistance to floods and droughts, and promote vital habitat for pollinating insects. Ensuring vegetation specifically matches an area even reduces maintenance costs. Wildflowers often re-seed naturally or live for several years, requiring little attendance, while increasing biodiversity further improves soil health and capacity to absorb floodwater.
Be part of #nomow
You can join the #nomow movement and help make road verges (railway sidings, and well... any bit of boring lawn) buzz with life. To achieve this, Project Maya have teamed up with River of Flowers (www.riverofflowers.org) to provide simple wildflower road verge management guidance along with a Nomow sign and reduced price wildflower seed balls and occasionally FREE rejects ( from Project Maya Seedball (www.seedball.co.uk).
If you are a council, railway station or school/community group just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!