Bumblebee roundabout at Warrington – the best I’ve seen!

June 26, 2011

in Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife

Bumblebee roundabout

The future bumblebee and wildflower traffic island, looks a little tired and depressed at the moment! As most of them do!

But that need not be the case…..

Outer perimeter left grassed for safety reasons

This roundabout was a typical boring green grassed roundabout. I approached my local council and suggested that instead of a boring green roundabout, why did n’t they create a wildflower and bumblebee friendly traffic island? Obviously there are monetary constraints regarding seeds and labour….so although my initial idea of an inner circle of the taller flowering red clover in the middle, with the lower flowering white clover on the outer perimeter, ( both bumblebee ‘top’ flowers, would look impressive as a bulls eye and I am a Liverpool FC supporter!!)  the annual cornfield meadow mixture was sown, along with some red clover. This particular island is extremely busy as it leads to the M62 and at times, there is very heavy, though slow moving traffic. Drivers frustrated by the peak hour queues, may benefit by seeing a lovely calming wildflower ‘meadow’! The first stages began shortly after my suggestion and the middle circular section was ‘ploughed’ over, sprayed to kill the grass, leaving the outer section to grass.

Wildflower/Bumblebee roundabout at the very start

The next stage involved seeding the inner circular area and let nature take her course…….

wildflower seeds starting to grow on the bumblebee island!

The weed killer stops the more vigorous fast growing grass from suppressing the wildflower annual corn meadow seeds and inhibiting their germination and growth…….

Bumblebee traffic island with flowering wild flowers

The corn poppies and blue cornflowers are particularly attractive to bumblebees……

A different view of the wildflowers-mainly ox-eye daisies

All these photographs of the wildflowers in bloom were taken in the middle June 2011……..

Bumblebee traffic island- A few corn poppies, corn flowers and ox-eye daisies

Large vehicles use the roundabout….

Same shot below with hopefully a more relaxed HGV driver on his way to the M62……!

It works for me..!!

Cornflowers predominate on this section of the roundabout

Bumblebee/wildflower annual corn field meadow mixture

Another happy driver..?

After the initial flush of the above wild flowers, the glorious corn marigolds and red clover took over in July……

Corn marigolds now starting their flowering dominance…..

bumblebee friendly red clover planted in a large patch on the wildflower traffic island

red clover on bumblebee island-just starting to fade

red clover and carder bumblebee on bumblebee island! Just dropping in for a drink of nectar!!

 

Red clover, ox eye daises and a sprinkling of corn poppies on bumblebee island

Ask your council to plant wildflowers seeds on your traffic islands and/or roadside verges….saves them mowing several times a year!!!!!

In these days of austerity, doom and gloom, its always nice to show appreciation and if you feel this does look nice a quick email to Kevin McCready, Area Manager Parks and Streets Service,

kmccready@warrington.gov.uk who was instrumental in this project

 

expressing your views, may go down a long way and perhaps give someone a smile or two and even perhaps extend the scheme to other areas!

Read more articles about bumblebees.

Read more articles about the bumblebee nest box

For more information and to help save bumblebees join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust at Stirling University

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Houghton June 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Hi George, i have passed the same traffic island a number of times this month and thought that it looked realy nice (i wondered who’s handywork it was),” well done George”, your work has turned something which is normally dull into an inspiration for us all.

Thanks

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nurturingnature June 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Why thanks Paul, glad you appreciate my behind the scenes work!!! Cheers George

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Carol Coupe June 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

Wow! I’m really impressed with your efforts and the brilliant idea! It may be worth forwarding a link to other local councils as well!

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nurturingnature June 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Hi Carol, hopefully a few people will badger their councils…it really is nice though when they listen and accept your argument!! Cheers George

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Esther Lyons June 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Hi George, your such a smart arse, well done it looks fab. xxx

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Esther Lyons June 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Hi George what a smart arse! It lookes fab. What a brill idea.

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Steph O'Connor July 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Looks Great!

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Mary July 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Well done George!

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nurturingnature July 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Thanks Mary, hope it sows the seed for others to follow!

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TISH Plain July 27, 2011 at 7:56 am

This is brilliant … and inspirational!!! Why don’t we have wildflower meadows on every roundabout????

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nurturingnature July 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Hi Lisa,

Glad you like it, perhaps we all need to try and persuade the local authorities? No harm in trying! It worked for me!

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Yvonne Richards August 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Great idea. Well done for proposing it to the council and top marks to them for implementing it – albeit a little skewed from your suggestion, but nonetheless a great step in the right direction for our little bumble and wild bees 🙂

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nurturingnature August 3, 2011 at 7:14 am

Thanks Yvonne, I hope it will inspire others to do the same! Cheers George

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Nils November 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Looks great.
But weedkiller was used….?

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nurturingnature November 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

I cannot say for sure..I did see the traffic island being lightly turned over by tractor but never saw chemicals being used on it myself. This is often discussed at various places I have visited. Do you wait for a long period whilst you control weeds by non chemical means, e.g. weed and grass removal by hand, covered with weed suppressing materials and mulched, which can take many months depending upon the weeds ( I have done it believe me!) and then eventually you may be left with a weed free area to sow seeds or do you use a weed killer to eradicate all weeds and competing grasses giving the wildflower seeds much more of a chance to grow and thereby establish a lot quicker? I have seen weed killer used in many wildflower meadows that prior to being a wildflower meadow, was a piece of grassland ( usually rye grass) with associated weeds, then transformed into a wildlife friendly wildflower meadow. Which is best? In this case chemicals may well have been used I simply do not know.

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Karen Green July 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Fantastic idea, hope many more roundabouts are done like this

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nurturingnature July 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Thanks Karen I’m sure people will find this a positive move and approach their council. Cheers George

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Max Wilson October 12, 2014 at 8:57 am

Greetings. I`m a BCT volunteer. They know me at Stirling offices!
Do you mind if I switch subjects? I`ve been sending the above type
promo to our local council for 2 years, without any feedback from them.
I`d like you to do something even more useful!!! Please unearth all the
research articles upon potatoe yields increased by bumblebees and increase in nutrients by them, and lets get this information out there to combat the enormous void in knowledge upon this subject.Its okay for tomatoes-the sister plant not so!

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nurturingnature October 15, 2014 at 10:28 am

Will email you max.

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nurturingnature July 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Natalie,Great site, absolutely marvellous! So nice to see others putting in so much time and effort . Well done! I will read it and browse your links shortly. Best wishes from, George

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