Westmorland & Furness Council has changed its horticultural practices to be more environmentally sustainable by moving away from the use of summer annuals and instead using a more sustainable perennial planting regime.

The move is aimed at increasing biodiversity by providing stable habitats for wildlife, while reducing the need for maintenance and reliance on purchased annual plants used in more traditional displays.

The changes were most recently seen in Great Dockray and Castle Park in Penrith where five beds were planted with sustainable perennials, replacing annuals that require renewal each year.

In another sustainable initiative, the Council is leaving spring flowering bulbs - which would usually be removed once flowering has ended - to re-flower the following year.

Initial results have been encouraging and could provide considerable financial savings, as well as a more environmentally friendly option for spring flowerbeds, the council said.

Cllr Dyan Jones, Cabinet Member - Customer and Waste Services, said the initiatives will provide sustainable, biodiverse habitats for wildlife, delivering on the key priority of enhancing biodiversity.

She said: “I’m delighted that these two initiatives will not only deliver savings on plant purchase costs and ongoing maintenance, but thanks to the judicious choice of perennial plants, they’ll also provide sustainable, bio-diverse habitats for wildlife, delivering on a key priority for the council – enhancing biodiversity.

“Once established, these beds will provide year round fauna and we hope to extend further planting across the area, year by year.”