Nature hits you between the eyes at this time of year, but so does the Oxfordshire County Council. April is the cruellest month disturbing dead roots with new life.

May nurtures them with rain and finally every year ‘the big bang’ explodes in June and flowers float everywhere. Then the council comes along with ‘the big zap’ and mows the verges destroying all the colour and beauty and wonder.

I’ve always wondered why the local politicians don’t see the bigger picture and stop killing it off. This year the penny has dropped. The councils are now doing the right thing, but for the wrong reason.

In a brief press release on April 20, Oxfordshire County Council’s director for environment and economy, Sue Scane, said the council “has reduced the budget for verge maintenance and cuttings…we appreciate that this is not welcome news for residents, but with budgets becoming tighter and tighter, we had to look at the best place to spend limited resources”.

What does this mean? The county council is going to let a thousand flowers bloom. Hurrah!

I have been asking councils to do this for years, but apparently I was knocking on the wrong doors because they always remained closed: “Don’t be silly. We have to cut the verges on safety grounds. We can’t just let them grow wild. What would voters think?”

I simply wanted the cow parsley to thrive and the red and pink valerian brought over by the Romans to have a place in the sun. The white daisy is running riot right now. The wild rose buds are about to take the kiss of life. Poppies are pushing up. Wild purple sweet peas are poised to explode. The wild geranium and cornflower are on the march. It’s all about to happen and for the first time in years, Oxfordshire County Council is going to let it happen.

The new policy of not reducing the verges of our county lanes to a crew cut version of an American cemetery is blamed on budget cuts. But the county council could have grasped this nettle with a different glove. Instead of presenting this change as a ‘financial cut’ they could have said they were giving the verges back to the people. That’s an avenue the county council’s environmental tzar Cllr David Nimmo Smith hinted at: “There are some environmental benefits to reducing mowing of grass verges. Roadsides provide an important habitat for plants, birds, small mammals and insects, such as butterflies and bees. This is an upside for biodiversity.”

Such a ‘hands off’ approach is a gift to the whole county – to villagers in Clifton near Deddington in the North as well as to villagers in Letcombe Bassett in the South Downs – a win-win experience.

I’ve been a guerilla gardener on the verges for years, planted the odd apple tree, rose bush, day lily and even a tall, bearded dark blue Iris or two. Now maybe more people will roll up their sleeves.

Why stop with the verges. The next step could be to tackle those barren roundabouts that get shorn to look like the heads of delinquents being punished in young offender institutions. It would take only a few ‘seed bombs’ to transform those two dreary roundabouts on either side of the M40 at the Wheatley Service Station rest area.

What’s a ‘seed bomb’? You combine soil and seeds in a biodegradable container which can be a hollowed out egg or the odd teabag or a recycled paper bag filled with compost and drop in seeds of wild flowers, usually something hardy that needs little attention and little water. Just lob this creation on to the roundabout in the evening. The Highways Authority will probably turn a blind eye, but if you circle the roundabouts in the dark it will reduce the chance of unnecessary difficulties or meetings.

Opportunities to reclaim the initiative from the ‘timid and tiny minded’ are all around us. Take the parks, for instance, why not turn them into wild flower meadows instead of sterile places for all those neat rows of water-hungry petunias and geraniums?

Of course some areas do need to be kept clear and mowed for safety reasons, but these are the exceptions that prove the rule. So if you have any suggestions of dangerous, overgrown areas that obscure sight lines and could contribute to an accident or shrubbery that hides signage that can mislead travellers, get in touch and I’ll ask the county council to take action. This should be easy since it will have quite a pot of gold from its new plan that verges on giving power to the people.