First impressions count - and Park Square roundabout is one of the first sights encountered by motorists arriving in the middle of Sheffield.
Until recently the spot offered little to catch the eye, but now the verges have been brightened up with colourful flowers and shrubs, with the aim of creating a vibrant 'meadow' in the city centre.
However, for three years only half of the roundabout had been transformed, at a cost of £16,000, until the scheme's funders stepped in with another £11,000 to complete the job last month.
It means the entirety of Park Square will be in bloom this summer and then for years to come throughout the warmer months.
The project was led by Pictorial Meadows, the social enterprise founded by Professor Nigel Dunnett of Sheffield University's landscape department. Prof Dunnett is known for creating the flower beds in the Olympic Park that were a talking point of the 2012 Games.
A special surface called PM Turf was laid down on the roundabout, along with bulbs and plants. Funds were supplied by hire firm Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Dan Cornwell, Pictorial Meadows' operations director, oversaw the entire scheme. “These meadows are a fantastic way to bring urban areas to life," he said. "This project here at Park Square is obviously very important to us as it is in our home city, and very close to Sheffield University's landscape department who conducted all of the research behind making these meadow planting programmes so effective and beautiful. We are really looking forward to this summer when the entire roundabout will be in flower – and then for many summers to come.”
The company, made up of landscape architects and managers, researchers and horticulturalists, has worked with Enterprise on similar projects involving several other roundabouts nationwide.
Coun Bryan Lodge, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: “Park Square roundabout is at the gateway to the city, so its appearance matters enormously in creating first impressions. We have devoted several locations in the city to meadow projects as we believe they are an innovative and smart way of greening the city sustainably and ecologically.”
Janene Scurfield, Enterprise's regional general manager, previously lived in Sheffield. "It is a fast-changing city with a vibrant and dynamic culture, and a lot of potential for development," she said. "The first donation helped us to plant half of the Park Square roundabout with a beautiful floral meadow, but there was scope to do more, which is why we raised additional funds to complete the site. We are pleased that we can help to make a difference for people who live, work and visit here.”
The hire company has three branches locally.