Swathes of beautiful pink Sea Thrift have been destroyed following a brutal strimming of the verges along Sandown seafront.
The flowers had been planted by Arc Consulting as part of the Lost Duver project in Sandown Bay.
Wildflowers strimmed back to stumps
The verges from Brown’s Golf Course up to the bus stop by the Zoo have been strimmed with seemingly no care or attention given to the purposely-planted wildflowers.
When the same thing happened last year, Ian Boyd of Arc Consulting engaged with Island Roads and it was agreed these flowers would not be touched during future strimming.
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Ian even sent a map and a photo of the plant to avoid any confusion, but on Saturday morning it was strimmed again, wildflowers included.
Boyd: Some sort of better balance is required
Ian told News OnTheWight,
“There’s plenty of Lost Duver left so they’ve not done any terminal damage, and it will grow back. But it’s just this constant need to nudge and plead and remind that’s a bit wearing to be honest.
“No-one’s asking for the network to be managed like a nature reserve, but some sort of better balance is required.”
Island Roads: “Extremely disappointed and frustrated”
News OnTheWight got in touch with Island Roads to ask whether they were responsible for strimming the area. Their spokesperson told us,
“Island Roads is also extremely disappointed and frustrated this cutting has taken place. We apologise to the Sandown community and, in particular, those directly responsible for the wilding project.
“We had previously agreed with the project that the flowers would not be touched. This information was given to our contractors but unfortunately the instruction was not followed. We have spoken to the contractor again this morning to register our disappointment.”
Offer of assistance with future planting
The spokesperson went on to add,
“Island Roads will be writing to the project to formally offer our apologies and to see if there is anything we can do to assist them in any future planting.”
Boyd: Why does this keep happening?
Frustrated by the repeat strimming of last year, Ian added,
“Even the clumps hiding behind the wooden posts have been hunted down and obliterated. It might flower again this year, but you have to assume it’ll be cut down again, certainly before seeding, and that’s really the point of the Lost Duver – lots of seed.
“You have to ask yourself why this keeps happening. In the end there’s only one answer possible – that it’s just not an important enough matter to register in the Island Roads machine. All that matters is that the contract and its specification persists, and the flow of money that circulates around it remains unperturbed.”
Where to find the wildflowers
If you haven’t been along Culver Parade recently, Ian explains where to see some of the remaining wildflowers.
“There’s the pond field on the Willow Walk, at the back of the Pluto Pavilion, the little roadside dune between Dinosaur Isle and Sandham Gardens, the Seedbank by the beach cottages and there’s some of it in the amazing and tireless work of the Sandown (and Shanklin) Green Towns Volunteers.
“The idea was to get a series of ‘homebases’ established from where these flowers could naturally spread, And it’s working. You can now see Thrift, Sea Campion, Vipers Bugloss, Sea Holly, Yellow Horned Poppy and more, right in the town and along its Esplanade.”
Find out more by visiting the Arc Consulting Website.