Where have all the flowers gone?

In spring, this patch of grass in Shelfield is normally a riot of yellow flowers. It won’t be next year. 6:15pm, Tuesday, 1st May 2012.

I know i’ve covered this on my 365daysofbiking Tumblr journal, but this issue deserves as wide an audience as possible. On my way through Shelfield this morning, I noticed that Walsall Council had been mowing the grass verges along the Lichfield Road, which is great, and they normally do a wonderful job. I was, however, heartbroken to note that this time, the intellectual giant behind the mower had mown off the daffodils that grow in abundance on these verges. Normally, they are left until summer to decay before cutting.

People who follow me here, or on my cycling travels or even through social media will know just how much I love those flowers. They’re a sign of spring and warmer days, and bring colour to an otherwise drab urban landscape, usually devoid of soft textures and bright natural colour.

After flowering, daffodils reabsorb nutrients from their decaying foliage back into their bulb, where this goodness forms the flower ready for next season. If you cut the top off such a plant before this has occurred, the next season will present a plant with no flower. At a stroke the flowers which are normally a joy here in April are wrecked for next spring. Well done, chaps. In how many other places across the borough has this happened? Considering how many bulb-planting sessions went on with local kids last year, this could be a real disaster.

I realise this wasn’t intentional, but it’s a real blot on the reputation of an otherwise fine department. I’m really, really sad about it.

How the same spot looked on the 2nd April 2012. Next year, there will be few flowers here. A tragedy.
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  • Andy Dennis

    I used to think the same on my way home from work. And it costs nothing to just let them regenerate and flower again. Shame.

  • Ms "Stevie"-Marie Ansell

    It is indeed a sad sight…. Daffodils are a sign of the start of another season ….that is all so important to folks like myself relying on weather for livestock or arable growth…..From an early age I was brought up with the saying “daffodil time”. Every year upon spotting daffodil growth my much loved father who has since passed would look at the daffodils and say “come on me Babby it’s daffodil time!” and at that we knew that the grass would grow …weather would change and that we had to “make hay whilst the sun shone” I have 5 or 6 lots of daffodils that grow in the corner of my paddock at the stables and the second I see them growing I breathe a sigh of relief and know that somehow I have managed to rob Peter and pay Paul and survived yet another hard winter!! Never did learn how they got there but in the back of my mind I always hope that it was my father who planted them for me to remind me that “Come on my babby it’s “daffodil time!!” 😀

  • oxtop

    I thought that you were going to write about Cllr Flower who has not updated his blog for months.

    • stymaster

      Not only has he not updated it, he’s removed the entire archive of it too.

      • Yes, it’s been noted. Mike has erased his archive, and several Tory Councillors now regularly erase their twitter history.
        Open government? I think not.


  • Dan Slee

    Hi Bob. As you know, I’m a press officer at Walsall Council. Not aware of the details behind it but I’ll see if I can find out what the situation is and post it back here. May take a day or two.

  • Dan Slee

    Heard back sooner than expected. The team responsible have put their hands up to acknowledge this didn’t go how it was meant to. Daffs shouldn’t be cut back until they die back. At the dozens of site across the borough where bulbs grow this happens but we’re afraid this didn’t happen here.

    The manager responsible has spoken to staff to remind them the best way to cut back daffs and has pledged to minitor the site and replace bulbs if needed.

    Thanks for flagging this up as an issue.

    • Hi Dan

      Thanks for the prompt action on this. It seems such a silly issue, but those flowers are commented on by so many people. They bring such brightness and joy, always a good thing.

      Thanks for sorting it out, really appreciated.



  • Mistakes happen, and it’s good to see, Bob, that you’ve had a quick and apparently positive response. Well done for bringing this to light.

  • Phil Brown

    It wasn’t the same Walsall Council Estates guys who decided to chop down a perfectly healthy tree on the public open space off Mill Road/ Green Lane Shelfield. You know the one that stood directly in the access path from the NEW Industrial Unit built without Planning permission or Building regs and without permission to access from Green Lane. It pays to have friends in high places

  1. Street life « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  May 4, 2012

    […] know folks at Walsall Council listen and do care – the excellent reaction to the Great Shelfield Daffodil Massacre (in which an old hippy got very distraught about some flowers) proved that. I have immense respect […]


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