Limagrain’s Colour Splash has the feel-good factor in Ealing

Lucy Nichollsin Local Authority

A range of Limagrain UK's Colour Splash flower mixtures have lifted community spirits and made the London Borough of Ealing a brighter place to live in more ways than one.

The London Borough of Ealing is one of the 32 London Boroughs and is the third largest in population. Ealing has long been known as the "Queen of the Suburbs" due to its many parks and tree-lined streets and this is reflected by the tree emblem seen on the Ealing Council logo.

Ealing continues to live up to its regal nickname and after seeing over 200,000 sq.m of the borough covered in an array of magnificent colourful flower species - it could well be the most majestic of them all.

Bradford Decker, contract monitoring officer for the Ealing borough, claims that he was inspired after seeing how local authorities transformed various areas around London in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"This wildflower project started back in 2013 and it was for both visual and bio-diversity reasons," said Bradford. "We trialled various mixtures in a few different areas, which included a poppy mixture at some of our World War memorials, and I believe in that first year we had around 8,000 sq.m of flowers.

"We were getting some really good feedback from residents, park users and some war veterans - so we increased the flower mixtures to a few other sites the following year and it just went from there really."

Limagrain UK's range of Colour Splash flower mixtures are used in a broad range of landscape and amenity areas throughout the UK. The much-loved brand was first established over ten years ago where the development of the mixtures were created in the beautiful county of Loir-et-Cher, in the centre of France. With nine mixtures in the Colour Splash range there is a floral arrangement for every requirement such as the Festival mixture which can easily be seen from a distance; the New Wave mixture which is perfect for locations needing an abundance of flowers; the Celebration mixture which has a wonderful pastoral effect; and even a Poppy Mixture which offers a fabulous show of vivid red flowers, providing a fitting and poignant display to our fallen heroes.

Since launching the project in 2013, Bradford and the park service team have continued to add more mixtures each year and there are now a total of 91 sites around the Ealing borough which have Limagrain's wildflowers equating to over 200,000 sq.m.

The stunning flowers are not only catching the eye of the Ealing residents as Bradford explains.

"We have seen so much wildlife it is unbelievable," he said. "They are attracting a lot of insects, butterflies, ladybirds, grass-hoppers and bees and that in turn has brought bigger species to our parks such as kestrels, woodpeckers, badgers, shrews and little owls. The flowers really have lifted the mood in Ealing and they are getting people out of their houses.

"Social media has exploded with various people photographing them, we are receiving positive emails all the time from people who are commuting through our parks saying that it makes their day; even a number of local groups have emerged such as wildlife groups and beekeepers. It really is wonderful to see."

The Colour Splash range of mixtures are extremely easy to sow and the resulting vigorous plants are more than capable of competing with weeds. Their vigour is equally matched by robustness; resisting long periods of drought. They are also fast flowering and cost effective.

Local contractor Andrew Hawes, from AJ Hawes and Family, has been instrumental in helping Bradford to sow the flower mixtures around Ealing and he believes that the results speak for themselves.

"It is a high-quality product and over the years we have seen some seed that isn't up to scratch but the Limagrain seed is fantastic. There is a very broad range of species that cover all kind of soil conditions and germination so whatever happens you will always end up with something that suits the ground."

Due to the success of the Colour Splash areas, Bradford is looking at using even more mixtures and is intending on applying them to roadside verges as the next phase of his on-going project.

Pitchcare are an appointed distributor of Limagrain Colour Splash. Visit the Pitchcare Shop to view the full range