Grass verges are bursting with colour as wildflowers come into season along North East Lincolnshire’s roads.
North East Lincolnshire Council have been spreading seeds along roadside verges and other public spaces to encourage biodiversity and create rich habitat for wildlife.
Wildflowers not only look stunning, but are also great for the bees, birds and butterflies who make the plants their home.
Different varieties of wildflower were planted late last year and have already started flowering across the borough, including poppies, daisies and buttercups.
Seeding helps control grass growth, reducing the need for grass cutting, and makes the verges look much more attractive.
The flowers can also aid flood prevention as they absorb more water than grass.
Councillor Stewart Swinburn, cabinet member for Environment at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “We have been improving our verges with wildflowers as they can add to our natural environment, help our wildlife and improve our physical and mental wellbeing.
“Many of the flowers are native to Lincolnshire, which means that they are best adapted to Lincolnshire’s climate and geology, which is great for local wildlife which has adapted to live here.
“The flowers already coming through look superb, and really add to the natural beauty of the area.
“We recognise the importance of biodiversity and this goes to show our commitment to sustainable land management is paying off, and we will continue to see the benefits over the next few years.”
Ecologists from North East Lincolnshire Council used a mixture of annual, biannual and perennial seeds, which add diversity to the roadside verges and mean each season has a different appearance.
Areas that have been seeded with wildflower seed mix so far include Martin Wragg Way, Mathew Ford Way and Park Lane, Humberston.
In areas where seeding takes place, grass cutting is scaled back to allow the new additions to flourish.
Some species will flower from April to September, whereas biannual varieties won’t emerge until next year, meaning the verges will look different each year.
The flowers are parasitic to grass, which means the grass will eventually stop growing on the verges.
The seeded areas are left to grow to give the wildflowers a chance to compete with the grass. Most of the areas have been over-seeded to give the flowers a chance to thrive.
While this is happening the grass will grow taller than the wildflowers and the reduction in grass cutting lets the flowers grow undisturbed.
Rachel Graham, Ecology Officer for North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “Ours is a sustainable approach rather than one looking for instant results.
“The seed mixes we use have more biannuals in, this means they’ll take two years to flower instead of having an immediate impact, but this will give them longevity.
“Grass will always out-compete wildflowers, so it’ll take longer for the flowers to become established, but they will.”
“We’re also keen to avoid introducing non-native varieties or species strains from other less suitable counties, which can contaminate our native wildflowers.”
There are around 1,600 species of wildflower in the British Isles. Some wildflowers bloom on their own naturally and need no intervention, but others need seeding.
Natural wildflower sites can be found at Cleethorpes Boating Lake, King’s Road, Cleethorpes, Peaks Parkway and Weelsby Woods.
New flowers will also be placed along Cleethorpes Promenade as the move is made from bedding plants to perennials.
Although parts of the borough are already seeing the benefit of wildflower planting, grass verges are still being cut.
North East Lincolnshire Council has an interactive map to show which grassed areas are being maintained, visit http://isharemaps.nelincs.gov.uk/responsive.aspx to see the status in your area.