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After all, these circular-shaped oases are located in busy roads, not the middle of Kew Gardens. “Tall planting is kept towards the centre,” so cars can see what’s going on around the edges.
Take the 15ft-tall, metallic flying geese that soar up from the roundabout in the middle of the A6 at Belper, in Derbyshire.
The influx of cash has come with fresh attention for the quality of the planting.
Where once roundabouts might have been dreary affairs with lawn and shrubs, now they are platforms for innovative horticultural thinking.
“Our displays have been developed using geraniums, polyanthus, hebe, lavandula, flax and a variety of grasses,” says Paul Richards of the London Borough of Hillingdon.
“All planting schemes are carried out on an individual basis, and careful consideration is given to soil type, soil depth, ease of watering and exposure to wind, frost and sun.” Plus car exhaust fumes, too. “The layout of beds on a roundabout has to take vehicle sight lines into account,” says Marilyn Ayoade, communications officer at Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, in Surrey.
Or the giant silver cockerel that guards the grassy traffic interchange at Deepdene, in Dorking (it represents the five-toed variety of chicken peculiar to this area).