We Saved the Moon Daisies… Year 2
Yes! We saved the Moon Daisies again. This time in May/June 2021. By “we”, we mean collectively all those who cared about, were disappointed by or, in our case, dismayed that once again our memory of Diddley loving the Moon Daisies had been besmirched by Surrey County Council (SCC).
Their annual May destruction of the roadside environment on the A24 south of Dorking upsetting us beyond measure. Once again, we thank those who cared enough to tell SCC what they thought. Lovers of the countryside. Local councillors who gave the weight of their support to the plea.
And to Surrey County Council Highways who listened. And then proudly announced that they had saved £27,000 by introducing a more modest, environmentally friendly regime for roadside verge maintenance on the A24!
We thank Plantlife UK for their campaign. A campaign highlighted in the Facebook group “Flowers on Roadside Verges“. Hardly a day goes by without another disillusioned member highlighting their dismay at their own local authority’s refusal to listen to reason and to common sense.
To them we say: “NEVER GIVE UP!” It’s worth fighting for.
Tell them about how Surrey County Council saved £27,000 of taxpayer’s money on the A24 and made our day in memory of Diddley.
We all moaned and groaned about the dreadful weather in May. The cold. The wet. The damage to ornamental plants. But then we saw the error of our ways. Most of the plants damaged: Magnolia, Hydrangea, Wisteria, Virginia Creeper, bedding plants et al are not native to the British Isles.
Instead, we marvelled at the glorious Bluebells that seemed to last forever. The beautiful Blackthorn in flower. And now, as we write this at the end of May, many roadside verges are a frothy mass of Cow Parsley. A backdrop of snow-like Hawthorn and majestic Chestnut trees in full flower.
We drove to Wales and took the longer scenic route through Berkshire to the Cotswolds. The road from Pangbourne to Stroud. Wantage, Farringdon, Lechlade, Fairford, Cirencester. Mostly single carriageway, through beautiful villages and towns.
Were the roadside verges in the countryside between ever more beautiful than that last Saturday in May 2021? It was heavenly. And not a council mower in sight. It was, of course, “No Mow May” and all the local authorities along that route appear to have taken notice. England… you are too beautiful for mere words. Wales, through Brecon and beyond on the A40, was glorious too. It took a lot longer. But who cares. We had all day.
The A24 runs from Central London to Worthing. The section we are concerned about is about six miles long. All dual carriageway, from the Holmwood Roundabout on the outskirts of Dorking south to the Clarks Green roundabout at the southern end of the Capel Bypass.
Three miles further south and you enter Sussex, who appear to have the same policy as Surrey now. North of Dorking, it appears that Surrey are also employing similar verge maintenance now. We totally understand and welcome the fact that the mowers will come back for a big cut, but only after the flowers have gone to seed.
No different to a wildflower meadow in other words. Saving the Surrey ratepayers £27,000 each May for just six miles of their road responsibility and also reducing the lane closures to a minimum. Making the road safer.
Mike next door told us that he had spoken to a Surrey CC official involved in decision making who was clear that there was no going back to the deluge of complaints they were getting about the May massacre.
All the pictures were taken over about an hour on 5 June 5 at the Capel by-pass section of the A24. All from, or close to, public footpaths that run adjacent to or across the central reservation. No unnecessary risks were taken.
It’s worth remembering that every single one of the millions of flowers depicted would have been indiscriminately slaughtered three years ago. Standing alongside those verges, the real beneficiaries were the scores of insects that bring life to the environment just a few feet from a busy main road.
It’s Never too Late… to Learn
Whilst researching this story, we thought a May poem would be appreciated by our readers. We resisted the “The Darling Buds of May” as WS’s famous sonnet has been featured before. Instead, we found “May” by John Clare. And read about one of England’s most famous romantic poets. For the first time. What an education Mindfully Bertie is for Bobby!
Here are the first few lines of “May”. The rest is saved for next week. It’s a very long poem, that brings alive an England and its countryside from a bygone age. We can’t go back there in the 21st century, but we can learn how to manage the world we live in far more sympathetically.
And all of us reading this story and John Clare’s poem next week have a part to play. We owe it to our children.
Come queen of months in company
Wi all thy merry minstrelsy
The restless cuckoo absent long
And twittering swallows chimney song
Lighting a Candle for Diddley and the Moon Daisies
“I will always feel close to Mum in June not only as it’s my birth month, it is the time of year for Moon Daisies which appear by the road side. Every year she always commented on how they reminded her of being pregnant with me, and this year they were particularly abundant.
My last words to my mother were simply “Goodbye Diane” and in her true knowing style she chuckled. I know how much I will miss her especially when I next see the roadside Moon Daisies.”
These words were written by Amber for her mother’s funeral in 2015. Amber, who died young in 2017. Neither lived to see the desecration of the Moon Daisies, when the local highway authority introduced their new policy of destroying the roadside environment in mid May.
Not surprisingly, we were never going to give up challenging them to stop this hideous waste of time and money. Never. Ever. We may have had a personal issue but, like so many others, it’s far more important than just that. And we don’t take it for granted. Some clever dick may try to reverse the policy. We are keeping a watching brief to make sure they never do go back on their word.