Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Book Icon

Hit urban bloomers set to return next year

The risks of coronavirus remain high. To keep everyone safe, please stay cautious. Get the latest information about coronavirus.

A photo of wildflowers in Middlesbrough

They've brought a vibrant splash of colour to roundabouts and verges across Middlesbrough - and they're set to become a permanent fixture.

The idea for wild flowers at sites around the town is a key strand of the Council's Green Strategy, and the Urban Meadows project was born with the aim of improving biodiversity and attracting pollinating insects.

And Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has pledged to bring the flowers back next spring ‘bigger and better than ever'.

The approach has been championed by Longlands & Beechwood ward Councillor Joan McTigue, who wanted to add further colour to urban areas, while helping the environment and supporting local insects and other wildlife.

She said: "These flowers will come back each year and with all the new trees we are planting, it will go a long way towards changing our image as a dirty northern industrial town.

"Many people are housebound for whatever reason, while others have no garden, so it's a way of bringing a garden of sorts to them.

"I have had a lot of very positive comments on what we have done already and it may help towards our bid for city status."

The flowers - more than 120kg of seed including marigolds, cornflowers, poppies, flax and sweet alyssum - were planted by Middlesbrough Council Environment staff and cover an impressive 41,709m2  across 78 sites including roadside verges and roundabouts.

Flower meadows are easier and cheaper to maintain than standard grassed plots which are cut fortnightly

They are more sustainable which in turn improves the biodiversity of the areas and attracts pollinating insects, such as bees.

The Urban Meadows initiative was jointly funded by Middlesbrough Council and housing provider Thirteen Group, and the various sites will be re-seeded in the spring to ensure further colourful floral displays in 2022.

Thirteen's environmental specialist John Woods said: "It has been great to work in partnership with Middlesbrough Council to bring wildflowers into the communities where our customers live.

"They bring many benefits that are really important to us at Thirteen. They look fantastic and they're great for people's health and wellbeing and we've no doubt that they encourage many people to take more pride in the area they live.

"Wildflowers attract bees, and we know that bees are sadly on a decline. A major reason for this is loss of habitat.

"Bees are one of our most important pollinators. Their hard work pollinates over 70% of the food that we eat, so every patch of wildflowers that we add to the community makes a real difference to the survival of these wonderful insects.

"This is just one of many projects which will improve the environment for our customers, creating more natural habitats for wildlife and a stronger ecosystem.

"We're looking forward to working together to bring an impressive display of wildflowers to the town next year."

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "Our stunning urban flower meadows have won huge praise, so they're definitely here to stay.

"Joan's been a passionate advocate for a great idea that brightens up people's lives and helps to protect and nurture the environment at the same time.

"We're going to work with Thirteen to make Urban Meadows even bigger and better next year - and we'll be asking local people to come with new sites and scatter seeds in appropriate locations."

Join the millions already vaccinated