River of flowers plan for York

Photograph: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

A ‘river of flowers’ could be created on grass verges in York.

Councillor Michael Pavlovic has suggested colourful wildflowers could be planted alongside roads – a move he says would increase biodiversity, save the council money on mowing the grass and make residents smile.

He said he has been asking people about trialling the idea on Hull Road and Field Lane.

And if the flowers prove popular, he hopes it could be rolled out to areas alongside the city walls and in areas where parking on grass verges is a problem.

Cllr Pavlovic said:

  • It could be an inventive way to increase biodiversity, particularly since the council called a climate emergency, as well as making people smile and feel happy.

    This would build on our initiative to plant 150,000 daffodils and other bulbs in this area, which has gone down very well with residents.
    The great thing about this idea is it provides colour as different flowers blossom from March right through until November.

A little fairy toadflax

Former Hull Road councillor Neil Barnes and Cllr Michael Pavlovic with daffodils planted on Hull Road in spring
Rotherham Metropolitan Council installed an eight mile-long wildflower meadow on the central reservations of the town’s main ring road, which helped save the local authority £23,000 over two years because it reduced the level of maintenance required.

Cllr Pavlovic added that he believes the idea could garner support from all political parties in York and that the next step is to launch a public consultation to find out what residents think about the idea.

Fellow Hull Road ward councillor Aisling Musson said: “Having wildflower verges could really improve the look and feel of the area and as we know from the daffodil planting, a bit of colour really brightens the place up and brings a smile to people’s faces.

“I’m sure the same would be true with a little fairy toadflax or some red poppies by the side of the road. But we hope initially to find the political will on the council to explore this idea before fully consulting residents on what they think.”


7 thoughts on “River of flowers plan for York

  1. Love this idea! I some wildflowers in Leeds this week planted along a wide verge. Definitely made me smile and I’m sure it will make the bees happy too!

  2. Absolutely great idea. I have been thinking about this so much recently. All along the river there could be wild flowers too. The grass there get’s mowed and then just dries up and all wildlife that was making a home in it is destroyed. Why are humans doing this? And then you get to the blue bridge and I don’t know who planted those flowers but they are absolutely beautiful and full of little birds, bees and insects. I don’t know who would be against this plan but one of the many good things that will come out of this is also that York will get even more attractive to tourists as it will become more beautiful and healthy. Maybe an argument for the not so focused on wildlife people. I am sure you will have expert help to hand but a point of call is St. Nick’s fields as they know everything about wildflowers and could help you make plans. As someone said, the flowers would need to be local, diverse and mowed correctly once a year to give them the best chance to flourish. Thanks so much for raising this with the council. Absolutely fabulous!

  3. On a recent visit to Normandy we saw long stretches of wildflowers instead of grass verges. It was beautiful. I would love to see the same around York.

  4. About time, I have been shocked at the recent destruction of mature shrubs, plants and trees in York recently. Bluebells were mown down in full flower last year on Clifton Green, and very few were visible this year. Most applications to fell perfectly healthy trees seem to be approved, despite objections from the public. The recent case of a mature healthy holly tree in The Avenue is just one example, a recommendation for pruning was ignored and the tree was completely felled. York parks regularly spray weedkiller on our native plants, which are vital sources of food for insects, and therefore birds, and seem to have little interest in planting areas of wildflowers, or bee friendly plants.

  5. Great idea as long as native wildflowers are used and cutting is correctly timed. Cut too early and the wild flowers wont set seed. Forget to cut then aggressive grasses will take over. Also a sea of daffodils is a monoculture of zero interest to pollinating insects.

  6. I think this is a wonderful idea and I really hope it goes ahead. Saves money and nice to look at, all whilst improving biodiversity. What’s not to like?

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