Roundabout in bloom

A Liverpool  roundabout has burst into bloom BHP Croxteth Roundabout--2s following two years of careful planning, preparation, planting and tending.

The roundabout, near to Croxteth CountryPark, at Muirhead Avenue East/Oak Lane and Dwerryhouse Lane  now has meadow flowers, bulbs and hardy perennials following two years of careful planning, preparation, planting and tending.  Its beautification is part of a £130,000 national programme to celebrate Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s 20 years in the UK where the company planted eight roundabouts with beautiful and sustainable urban meadows.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool’s Deputy Lord Mayor and Cabinet Member Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change said, “We were intrigued when Enterprise Rent-A-Car approached us with this meadow project, not least as we were already familiar with this approach to greening urban areas as it is both sustainable and can be very cost-effective. We have already received a number of compliments and it’s clear that the local community is enjoying the new meadow at the Croxteth roundabout.

“This has been a long term project with a clear environmental vision, and we are thankful to Enterprise for providing the funding to bring urban meadows to the city.”

Kieran Cregan, Regional Business Rental Sales Manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car North West, “Sustainability is a part of our cultural compass at Enterprise, and this includes giving something back to help and enrich the communities where our employees, customers and suppliers live and work. We have 81 employees working at 9 rental branches across Liverpool and Merseyside servicing customers in the city region as well as supporting 8 Enterprise Car Club vehicles in bays across the city. This is a very important location for us.

“We want to thank Liverpool City Council for working with us over the past two years to transform this roundabout into a floral meadow which we hope will continue to blossom for many years to come.”

Enterprise engaged with leading experts in meadow technology to bring the project to life. The company approached the renowned Professor Nigel Dunnett of the Landscape Department at University of Sheffield to design each location. Dunnett is one of the world’s leading experts in planting design and technology and his work came to national prominence when he created the much talked about meadows for the Olympic Park in 2012.

The roundabouts were then planted by Pictorial Meadows, a pioneer in the commercial development of hardy seed mixes and turfs that create the naturalistic planting styles developed by the University of Sheffield’s research.

In addition to providing long-lasting displays of colour over several months, the designs and seed mixes used on the roundabouts have been developed to flower year on year with the minimum of care. In fact, the flowering technologies developed by Nigel Dunnett and Pictorial Meadows have been shown to reduce maintenance costs for local authorities, as well as lowering the disruption to traffic required when gardening equipment is taken on site at roundabouts and roadside locations.

The mix of plants at each site also fosters biodiversity and wildlife. They are especially appealing to local bee and butterfly communities, which thrive when the carefully selected plants are in bloom.

Professor Nigel Dunnett, Landscape Department, University of Sheffield said: “This project was very exciting because it offered a chance to demonstrate the impact that these perennial designs can have on communities for the long-term. Over the years we have worked with many local authorities on wildflower projects that have created visually stunning displays quickly, but only for a year or two.

“The planting on these roundabouts will have longevity. They will flower year after year with quite minimal attention, because Enterprise and the local authorities involved were willing to engage in this project for the long-term.”

Dan Cornwell, Pictorial Meadows’ Operations Director, oversaw the whole project from the first scoping out at each location to the laying of the Pictorial Meadows’ perennial turf, a unique product that is grown off-site to enable the rapid transformation of large spaces. He said: “Our mission at Pictorial Meadows is to channel the University of Sheffield research into viable products that can easily be used by local authorities and developers to improve urban spaces.

“This project is very important because it allows us to showcase how this new approach to the development of perennial meadows can make a real difference. It can transform how councils plan the greening of local communities while reducing maintenance costs.”

The Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield is a world leader in the science behind sustainable public planting schemes. Professor Dunnett has spent two decades developing designs, techniques and processes to achieve consistently reliable and long-flowering performance from new urban landscape planting.  He founded the company, Pictorial Meadows, to bring this technology to sites around the UK at an affordable cost, through a range of meadow seed mixes.  Originally a company of the University of Sheffield, Pictorial Meadows is now the UK’s leading urban meadows specialist, with a reputation for innovation in delivering projects on the ground.