Gallows Hill garden update August

Despite an early drought back in April, which occured soon after we planted this garden, we managed to keep all the plants growing, now as we enter another dry period most look to have become established and should not require additional watering (at this time). But like the whole area the plants are stressed.

We discouraged dogs from using the garden as a toilet by slightly fencing off the garden with some dead branches. The result has been a garden that is helping out local insects. We will be reducing the nettle population of the garden as so much of Gallows Hill has fine stocks of nettles

Wharfemeadows Park gets an upgrade

Many people will be wondering what is happening with the flowerbeds in Wharfemeadows Park. We want to reassure everyone that flowers will soon be appearing in the 4 large beds nearest to Bridge Avenue.

Otley in Bloom, Wildlife Friendly Otley and Otley 2030 are working together, supported by local councillors and with agreement from Leeds City Council.

A planting plan has been drawn up and plants ordered from Leeds Parks and Countryside department several weeks ago. The beds will be planted up with flowering perennials which support wildlife, encourage bees, butterflies and improve biodiversity.

We hope that by the end of the summer the beds will be full of life and colour. These beds will then be maintained by the community groups rather than by Leeds City Council.

We are pleased to have been able to come to an agreement which has saved these beds from being grassed over. Which also delivers much better planting for sustaining pollinating insects than the annual bedding plants normally seen in these beds.

When the perennials die back in the autumn we will be doing a further planting of spring bulbs to extend the flowering season.

We know that some people, particularly those living near the park will be keen to get involved in the planting of these beds and in helping to keep them looking good in the future and we would be delighted to have you join us. We are now simply waiting for a delivery date for the plants from Parks and Countryside.

May 2022
May 2022

As we progress we will add more photos showing the developments of the beds.

The plantings

Day one was lovely after some rain overnight and the garden soil had been well prepared. Roughly 850 plants turned up from Leeds Parks and we added to this stock from our own gardens and allotment. A strong team worked for four hours on the first two beds. We left it watered thanks to Parks letting us use their hose and hopefully we might get a bit more rain tonight.

Day 2 was a little cooler but by now we had learnt how to get this massive task completed and some more volunteers turned up. It felt a little sad leaving the beds after watering the plants in as we were not sure about the weather. Luckily the BBC were right and we had a series of night time rainfalls over the next few days. Over to nature…

General Maintenance in May

May is such a great time around Otley to carry out the first big clean up after the late winter weather. Recently we have been out dead-heading daffodils in the Barrier planters and the rose bed of the Firestation. Litter picking of the garden at Bremner Street opposite Asda has to be done. The amazing Nectar beds close to the Prince Henry’s crossing needed 4 large bags of weeds to be taken out of it and clearing Myers beck of Balsam to minimise flooding in the winter on such a lovely warm day made sinking into the mud in wellies a real pleasure. Why not come along and help out, just watch Facebook for the next project.

Firestation rose bed
Nectar bed weeding
Myers Beck

Butterfly garden in Gallows Hill nature reserve

We were asked to plant a Butterfly garden in the car park of this nature reserve. The area given over to us is reasonably large with a young conker sapling growing in the middle which will eventually destroy our planting but for the next few years we should be able to offer nectar and flowering plants for an extended season and for a range of butterflies.

First we had to dig over the space and mark it using gifted stones to stop cars parking on it. Then, using leaf mold from the uncleared streets of Otley, plants from our gardens, some re-cycled plants from Leeds Parks (by agreement) and some bought in plants we managed to plant this up. We decided to use the weed surpressing medium to cut down on maintenance and that should stay covered up with the leaf mold. Only time will tell. Let’s hope for a bit of rain as this is an impossible site to keep watered.

And a final touch, a sign.

May 2022

We came back to tidy up the bed today and to deal with what turned out to be the results of a four week drought. We added some new plants (thanks Phil Knight) plus some others from the allotment and member’s gardens have filled in the holes.

We have also put up a rudimentary fence using local dead tree branches to offer targets for visiting dogs. Hopefully if they use these twigs they will stop marking the plantings.

Mid January 22

Charles Street car park is normally a very busy space with just a few green areas. We have tried to maintain a planted area here over the years but with cars parking on it and some over large plants in the area it has always struggled. So we litter picked the whole car park and then cleared the bed, prior to laying down a weed maintenance cloth covered with a lot of street leaf litter which we cleared from nearby street. New plantings and some yellow stones to ward off cars may keep the area nice in 2022.