Pros and cons
Native verges may be less showy than sown meadows, but natural seed banks can produce astounding diversity and botanical gems.
Sown verges, if carefully planned, have the advantage of long, continuous flowering and bespoke, impactful colour schemes. On the downside, non-native plants may not be as attractive to pollinators or provide food for larvae, there is a small risk that some may become invasive, and mixes based on arable weeds require the destruction of existing vegetation every year.
Natural verges, managed sensitively, can be extraordinarily diverse and ecologically complex, and support specialist plants adapted to local conditions. However, they are less predictable, less showy, may take a few years to develop, may have gaps in flowering and suffer from the perception that they are untidy.
Photo: Wildflowers on a road verge in Northern Ireland. © Matt Pitts/Plantlife