Annual report 2021

People and Groups; firstly I’d like to thank all the people who help Otley in Bloom do their work. This includes Otley Town Council, Otley BID, Rotary Club of Otley, Otley Maker Space, Wildlife Friendly Otley (WFO), Courtyard Planters, all Otley businesses, Leeds Parks Department, the residents of Garnett Wharfe, David Wilson Homes (DWH), the many individuals who give up time to help us, the committee and all members of OiB. Even the people who stop to thank us around town. It continues to be a real pleasure to work with you all to make the town a greener and prettier place.

Litter; the year started much as the last year ended with another lockdown and a lot of rain. Lockdown restrictions on numbers and spacing meant that OiB members used their time carrying out a series of big litter picks. We picked the east end of West Busk Lane leading down to the underpass entrance and we carried out yet another litter pick of the bypass. We then picked to link up with the Burley bypass maintained by Wharfedale Wombles.

Climate Emergency; we used the time to change our plantings in planters around town. We have moved over to changeable perennial plantings with more drought-tolerant plants for the summer. In the barrier planters this has proven especially successful with more time being spend dead-heading and cutting back than replacing annuals frequently.

Planters and Beds; OiB maintain some 80 different beds around Otley, from the very small to fair-sized gardens. Many require irregular rubbish removal, cutting back, dead-heading or re-planting in what might normally be abandoned pieces of land or in established planters. Where possible we maintain benches, fruit trees, herbs and bird boxes to enhance the areas. We provided multiple plant pots to Cross Green Children’s Centre.

Watering; Leeds Parks’ understandable abandonment of watering of council planters has thrown the costs of the watering back on the BID and OiB. Luckily, individuals are prepared to be paid to carry water around town and I’d like to thank Courtyard Planters for their pivotal role in this. It seems strange that in a first-world town we have to use sheer muscle to do this work and OiB remain convinced that, given time, Otley will develop the technology to move water by pipes. In the meantime we will work to ensure that OiB and the BID continue to pay humans to lug it around.

Advice; where we can, OiB offers advice. We did so this year to maintain the plants around the new illuminated advertising hoarding at Springfield Close and in a design to allow easily maintained planters on the front of the Action for Older People building.

Wildflower plantings; the first year of the BT wildflower garden went well in terms of a massive range of different wildflowers growing as well as the recovery of a fair few bulbed plants. Unfortunately the BT mowers decided to mow in May rather than October and so damaged some of the plants’ life cycles, but OiB re-mowed the area in October prior to an additional small sowing by WFO in November. OiB has also arranged for Rotary to wildflower plant the area to the north of Ilkley road underpass with Leeds Parks’ permission.

Covid memorial, daffodil plantings; OiB was asked to organise a mass daffodil planting at Garnett Wharf by a few residents. The planting was to recognise the suffering of the people of Otley from Covid and we found DWH and the Residents Committee in support of the project. It ended up with us planting 2,000 bulbs between Buon Apps and Tittybottle Park.

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