A riot of colour has brought the A391 in St Austell to life this summer with our Garden Route which welcomes locals and visitors into the town with a wildflower meadow.
7,000 square meters of specialist wildflower meadows and garden cultivar border the A391 between the Pinetum Garden junction with the A390 and the Carluddon roundabout where the road exits the clay landscape, and at other sites across the town. Created in partnership with Cornwall Council’s Making Space for Nature team, The National Wildflower Centre at the Eden Project and Pictorial Meadows, this is the first of its kind for Cornwall.
Unseen anywhere else in the county, the mix of flora is designed specifically for St Austell to create a sustainable community of plants that support each other to offering an annual floral bloom. The plants include Greater knapweed, Ox-eye daisy, Aster, Wild carrot, Purple Coneflower, St John’s Wort, White Campion, Orange Hawkweed, Evening Primrose, Verbascum, Salvia, Meadow Buttercup, Yarrow, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Oregano, Common Tyme, Viper’s bugloss and Meadows cranesbill have been hand selected for their pleasing aesthetics and for creating a biodiverse habitat to attract bees, butterflies and dragonflies.
It is hoped the meadows will provide cover and food for birds, small mammals and amphibians. Uncut meadow patches will be left as refuge areas for creatures to shelter in over winter months. The meadow verges will be managed with an annual autumn cut, to reduce fertility and ensure continued diversity of flower species. Cuttings will be collected and removed, leaving a healthy sward ready to grow again each springtime to encourage a striking annual bloom.
After many months of careful planning and consultation, the first phase of groundwork to bring to life the the new wildflower meadows began back in September 2019, followed in March 2020 by laying 4,000 square meters of specialist turf created by leading horticulture experts, Pictorial Meadows. In September 2020 the project is due to be extended, with additional native wildflower seeds being sown by The National Wildflower Centre to create a 2.5km wildlife corridor between the Tregrehan Mills and Treverbyn roundabouts. A footpath/cycleway runs alongside much of the verge, allowing up-close contact with nature and enjoyment of the visual display.
The wildflower meadows are one of a number of sites along the Garden Route which is a collective of mini-gardens, landscapes, roadside verges and roundabouts that geographically form a ring road of gateways into the town. The project has brought together many partners with a shared goal to bring more colour, enjoyment and access to nature to St Austell.
Local garden designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes and Truro based Landscape Architects Mei Loci are overseeing the curation of the Garden Route, on behalf of the Austell Project.
The project has been co-ordinated with Making Space for Nature, University of Exeter, Cormac, Cornwall Council highways, SABEF, St Austell Town Council, Darren Hawkes Landscapes, MeiLoci Ltd, Pictorial Meadows and National Wildflower Centre/ Eden Project.
Accompanied by sweeping aerial views of the meadow in bloom, landscape designer Darren Hawkes will introduce you to the 6,000-metre flourishing Wildflower Corridor and Perennial Meadow Garden creating a riot of colour along the gateway road into St Austell.
Bordering the A391 and its roundabouts this project is the first of its kind in Cornwall having been initiated and led by the Austell Project in partnership with Cornwall Council and the National Wildflower Centre at the Eden Project.
Click on the video above to find out more.