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. https://www.facebook.com/Otleyinbloom
The second summer under covid has been interesting. We have had more time to plan and more time to find safe ways of working together while maintaining the various planters and beds around town.
Our most regular area of work continues to be the barrier planters, firstly our thanks must go to Otley Bid who have paid for much of the watering on these planters this year, to Leeds House which picked up watering the two large planters in the Market Square, the Milk Bar Cafe and Deli who look after the pyramid planter in Manor Square and Nam Jam Thai who fill the planter next to their restaurant with herbs and of course all the other shops who pick up their local planter too many to name.
Sustaining the barrier planters is a new project for us since Leeds council gave up this work, we have moved the planting to be more drought toleratant and to be perennial, using our allotment to overseason plants before we can bring the same plant back for a second or more years.
In terms of the large Weston Lane bed we have tried to keep that tidy but the plantings are so successful and the space so full of bees that it is hard to know exactly what to cut back and what to leave growing during our various visits. What start as flowers in the summer become seed pods to feed birds in the late autumn. A real joy of a bed. Though this Broom is having a trim back in the autumn.
The Nectar Beds in WharfeMeadows are much the same and seem to need a lot of work but the buzz of health pervades the area from March into November so it is going well.
The Bremnar Street garden is very healthy and now seems to need three cut backs a year, one before bird nesting season, an early August trim and then a final September cut back. It would be great if Otley Council could get the badly placed sign post moved so that wheelchaired pedestrians had easier passage on the pavement.
The recycling centre Ellar Ghyll bed is pretty much self sufficient with only a certain amount of weeding and litter needing clearing on a regular basis. The rose hips and the connection up to the Ghyll beck make a nice extention to the nature path here. However, some of the small trees planted here are getting a bit big.
The various other “gates” to Otley continue to be planted up with a seasonal sequence of flowers.