The Roundabout: Lucy's Discovery

From having a guest post from The Garden Monkey on Saturday to today's joint one with Lucy - isn't blogging just great when friends hop along to join in?

Over the weekend Lucy over at Pictures Just Pictures has been out and about in Weymouth. Unusually for a seaside town it also had some snowy scenes last week like the rest of Britain, though I suspect things are back to normal now. Lucy sent me this picture as a contribution to my Public Planting series as she knows I have a particular interest in roundabouts. But before I wade in and say something, here's her thoughts about it:

Foord Roundabout Weymouth – 7/2/2009

The council and the undertakers who sponsor this roundabout (Rose Funeral Service) must be very proud of this roundabout. Not only is there a bench on the bank ahead, there's one behind where I was standing to take the photo so, if you wish, you can sit and look at it in comfort.

Indeed they pay a lot of attention to this area. Low growing evergreens guide pedestrians towards safe crossing places and across the road (out of view to the right) there is quite a wide patch of grass through which daffodils grow in the spring.

And not only have they gone to the trouble of planting out flowering pansies in the winter (definitely winter, think they are pansies), circular beds have been made within the larger circle of the roundabout.

Lucy Corrander

There's a couple of design points she's noted - low evergreens planted to guide pedestrians to the safer places to cross (yet not hampering visibility), plus the circular beds echoing the shape of the roundabout. Note that pansies seem to be the only winter bedding solution used for this kind of situation - let me know if your town's differ. I giggle at the fact the sponsor's a funeral parlour and they're called Roses. I haven't found out yet exactly what sponsoring a roundabout means e.g. whether it's a one-off or continuing payment, or if they have any say in what's planted.

The example Lucy's found is very similar to some in Chippenham, though I have got some shrubby and tree-lined examples lined up to show you too. At some point I'll be bringing you views from Bath, Poole and Taunton - the ones there are very different and show what can be done with a little imagination. What are the roundabouts like in your neighbourhood? Are any of them sponsored?

Thanks Lucy - that's helped me make a good start at looking at public planting in more detail :)


  1. The idea of a sponsored roundabout is a new and appealing one to me. Anything that changes the emphasis from cars to humans is very welcome. Guerilla gardeners beautify bare ground, and in the absence of sponsors, could use these design ideas for roundabouts.

  2. Hi Catmint - thanks for your visit! I think they're do a great job - far better than our councils do in many cases.

  3. It drives me mad when councils plant large shrubs etc on roundabouts so you cant see what is coming.

  4. Hey VP, what would you think about doing a challenge sometime in the spring or summer (when things look nicest), showing our nicest public plantings?

  5. Fareham are the only Council I can find with costs:

    No idea if this is the going rate so to speak. I like that roundabout Lucy found. Well thought out.

  6. You might be interested to have a peek at the roundabouts in Basingstoke, ironically named Donut City because there are so many.

    The thing about the ones in Basingstoke is that many of them sport sculptures and various items of public art, in addition to the ubiquitous bedding scheme. Some are a lot of fun, and many of them are sponsored

  7. Our roundabouts are sponsored but look the same as they did before sponsoring - except they are a little tidier. Not very innovative planting around here I'm afraid, all dull shrubs and grass.

  8. We had a most attractively planted roundabout just down the road, mainly grasses and some perennials, punctuated by some chunky sandstone blocks. However major alterations took place, plants and sandstone were removed but not replaced. The new planting is not up to the same standard :( I will try to remember to take a photo. There are one or two sponsored ones about so will keep my eyes open for details. Luckily I don't drive :)

  9. We have as round about in Nashville! It has a public sculpture...I do want to get down there and then send you the photo. Here is a youtube link... I still need to get you a decent a photo! I can't wait to hear your reaction~~Btw, there was a bit of controversy about it, too. They mention it at the end of the video. gail

  10. It's great to see a public planting that is well thought out and well done. Kudos to the morticians and whoever else is involved in this. There's only 1 real roundabout in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, but I haven't driven past it lately. There's a fake one in the middle of a shopping center that is always planted up with something colorful, but that is obviously done by the shopping center management.

  11. a few of the roundabouts (or just corner-type medians) that are around here seem to focus more on summer/spring plantings. every once in awhile a city council person will come by to note if the plantings are too tall or dense (drivers must be able to see through all plantings). last summer there was quite a big stink when a city council pitched a fit about some sunflowers.

  12. Oooh, cracking post and good comments too! A subject close to my heart. We're lucky to live near Crawley (stop laughing) in that they make a huge effort with public planting, and are very creative and open-minded about it, but I notice this most in the parks and wide green areas alongside roads, rather than roundabouts. Several would be sponsored, but I see have signs up rather seeking sponsors at the moment - sign of the times. Many also have loads of rabbis on - adorable to look at but a challenge I should think. I often wonder whether their tunnels go right under ground, or the rabbits just have to play chicken to reach rabbit mainland?

  13. I think our local council would be very pleased to read the comments here!

    And, EB, I know it's a typo - but I love the idea of roundabouts with loads of rabbis on!


  14. We got out first and only roundabout a couple of years ago. Some older people were in an uproar about how congested the area was going to be and had a hissy fit.

    It is a very nice roundabout with one little crapemyrtle in the middle. Young people love it and zip right around. Old people get stuck in the middle and have to be rescued.

  15. I like Susan Tomlinson's idea of photographing, sharing and comparing our nicest public plantings. They also might give us ideas for hardy, relatively low maintenance garden designs.

  16. Now the snow has cleared, I discover this roundabout is planted with primulas, not pansies.

    I've noticed another since then very prettily planted with flowering primroses.

    Along Weymouth seafront, the empty raised beds are being filled up with acres of wallflowers. One though, which looked a bit empty and tatty, turns out, on closer inspection, to have tulips coming up in it.


  17. PG - that's exactly what started me on this public planting in the first place. The one by the entrance to our eatate is positively lethal.

    Susan & Catmint - that's exactly what I've been planning for sometime in March!

    Hermes - thanks so much for that. I've done some research since which has turned up a SAGA survey to find the nation's best and worst roundabouts. The Magic Roundabout in Swindon is the worst!

    Zoe - thanks I'll take a look at that. Since Monday's post I've found several companies who seem to act as the go betweens between councils and potential sponsors. There seems to be a wide variety in quality. One in particular has some fantastic examples - I wonder if this is the company that has been involved with Basingstoke?

    EG - it's exactly the same in Chippenham. From the article Hermes kindly found, it looks like there's a wide variety of prices and I wonder if our respective councils/sponsors have gone for the cheapest?

    Anna - thanks, that would be great! You can of course post them over at yours if you want - I'm all for conversations being carried on into other blogs :)

    Gail - thank you so much - that's brilliant!

    MMD - do you know that's exactly the trouble I'm having - finding out who's responsible for what...

    Petoskystone - interesting. We have full grown trees on some of ours. That makes the one by us dangerous, but on another one nearby it isn't because the roundabout's so much larger. A lot of the public planting in this country is focused on bedding out twice a year too.

    EB - welcome! I never thought I'd find visiting Crawley tempting, but because of this series of articles, I am! Like Lucy, I liked the thought of rabbis on her roundabout ;)

    Lucy - it is a thumbs up isn't it? I've just received a book on public planting design from a landscape architect's point of view and it makes fascinating reading as does the websites of some of the comapnies facilitating sponsorship. Thanks for the further info too - I spotted primulas on our high street the other day - I must return to take a photo...


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