BT Garden 2021

The year started well for our wildflower project at BT’s telephone exchange on Charles Street. The area that OiB and Wildlife Friendly Otley seeded last September showed some interesting plants developing. We marked out the zone that we wanted left alone and placed a sign at the entrance to the land in February. The plan, agreed with BT, was for just one mowing this first year in September.

Flowers started to appear not only in the seeded area but also in the rest of the site. By May, with bluebells and other wildflowers in abundance, the un-mowed garden was starting to look like the meadow-in-the-middle-of-the-town we hoped it would become.

By June some of the plants were over 4 feet tall and the place was buzzing with insects. Someone kicked over the sign that explained what we were trying to do, but given the stress of Covid we sort of understood that.

Then on 4th June the mowers came and cut the whole area.

Obviously this was a blow, particularly for the volunteers who had done the work. We discussed the situation with BT and learnt that their mowing contractor had tried to cut as high as possible. Looking forward, they will try to limit the mowing to March and late August. We have yet to see what survives into the autumn, when it will be time to decide what needs to be done to recover this.

Wildflower meadow at The Whartons school

A couple of members of the group have again been back to the Whartons School where through recent talks with the school and Friends of the Earth it was decided that they would like to create two wildflower meadows within the school grounds. Over the past few months a plan was drawn up, seeds aquired and the land prepared. Finally today some of the children from the school enjoyed a sunny session of sowing the seeds and stamping the ground to settle them in assisted by our members. Otley in Bloom shared the costs of the groundworks with the school PTA and will continue to monitor the site.