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.
October and November are always busy months for OiB, even more so when Covid is causing constantly changing restrictions on how many people can meet out of doors. During this period we do a lot of tidying up. So various individuals managed to get out and tidy up the Charles St car park, a number of planters around town, flower beds on Weston Lane and Bremner Street corner, as well as smaller sites. All socially distanced or keeping in a bubble, of course.
Annually OiB tidy up the small park on the corner of Bremner Street. This area holds two bird boxes, some well developed small trees and, on the frontage, small bulbs and plants. It tends to overgrow its space each year so we wait for all the birds to have completed nesting and then cut it back. This year, constraints at the council recycling centre meant we kept the debris on site to compost down safely. Most years we also litter pick the space within the area and we did that again but the litter levels were smaller than usual.
Restrictions on numbers of Otley Bloomers (6 maximum) due to Covid meant that we had to limit participants, but we managed to do a good job in just a short while. No chance for our usual cake and coffee though!
Bremner Street corner was tidied up again this weekend. The condition of the corner was pretty good. Not too much litter (thanks, Otley), only about a bin bag full.
The majority of the work was to clear the name of the road, weed at the front of the corner and trim back those bushes which were growing onto the pavement. Behind the front bushes there was a bit of scrubbing up of small plants and a discussion on what to do with the laurels in the midst and the opportunity to plant another fine tree at the rear.
Lovely weather with small birds singing their hearts out. Thanks to everyone for turning up and helping.
We put out new bird boxes in the winter and that is one of the reasons the birds were singing.
Bremner Street corner last got a tidy-up in July 2017.
The snowdrops that we planted around Otley in September are beginning to flower. We began to see them early in January, and now with any luck they should be showing at all the sites where we planted them. There are definitely snowdrop flowers at Gasworks Corner and Bremner Street, more are appearing all the time. Thank you again to everyone who helped us.