Shaftesbury’s wildflower verge trial has changed Cllr Piers Brown’s opinion.
He told Shaftesbury Town Council’s Recreation and Open Spaces meeting that he was a sceptic before, but now the grass is ‘bedding down’. And Piers says, “It’s a lot prettier than it used to be.”
All of the town will be zoned, and land will be categorised for wildflowers, more manicured management or a mix of both approaches. Piers says he doesn’t want all open spaces included because that would mean a loss of informal play areas. There will be changes to next year’s wildflower verge programme. The front area of wildflower zones will be maintained to make it clear that these spaces are not unkempt land.
Expert botanist Mariko Whyte, who works with Dorset Wildlife Trust, is advising the Town Council. Future wild areas may appear different. Mariko reminded councillors that the project is there to boost biodiversity in the face of a climate emergency, and it’s not intended to create pretty curbside colour. The colourful floral mix, which has proved popular, may not be the best for wildlife.