OiB is trying to maintain the town’s barrier planters so there is always something interesting in them, using perennials wherever possible. The week of 10th May was a good opportunity to upgrade all 31 planters, which we did in three mornings. Despite ongoing restrictions we had an enjoyable time followed by coffee in the market square. The very kind Otley BID has stepped in to provide the money for watering roughly half these planters this year.
At the start of 2020 OiB, Wildlife Friendly Otley and Otley 2030 were working together to provide Leeds Parks department with a guide on how to introduce more trees and wildflowers to Otley. We were especially interested in changing road verges from barren green grasses to more interesting wildflower areas which would offer friendly places for wildlife and reduce the carbon footprint of maintaining verges.
Leeds Parks found other areas of Leeds to plant up before Otley and then…. Covid struck. Despite this, the Otley organisations kept talking and looking for alternative groups to work with. It was with great excitement that we found that the BT telephone exchange on Charles Street was happy to let us intiate a wildflower meadow in their garden. We considered planting up the garden in the Spring but the weather had been beautiful and dry so we were concerned we would not be able to keep it watered, hence we let the Spring pass.
Autumn looked a better bet and so, in September, six socially-distanced members of OIB and WFO started with this roughly mown area.
Focusing on the front rectangle of grass we mowed the grass again, and again, and again. This allowed us to get down to the turf of the garden. Then we used a turf cutter to slice strips out which we flipped over. The addition of 0.5 kg of wildflower seed and about the same of dry sand scattered by hand over the newly exposed earth seemed to work well. Over the coming few days the British weather did the right sort of things and watered the seed in. Some of it will require colder weather to trigger germination.
We will sign-post the area to help guide the official mowers to cut the grass/wildflowers correctly. We will also put up a sign explaining what we have done so everyone can see how well or badly this is doing.
For those who are interested in the details;
seeds purchased from https://www.naturescape.co.uk/
“N5F long season meadow mix”
|Latin Name||English Name||Mix Composition|
|Centaurea nigra||Common Knapweed||5%|
|Centaurea scabiosa||Greater Knapweed||3%|
|Daucus carota||Wild Carrot||5%|
|Echium vulgare||Viper’s Bugloss||2%|
|Galium verum||Lady’s Bedstraw||6%|
|Geranium pratense||Meadow Cranesbill||2%|
|Hypochaeris radicata||Common Catsear||2%|
|Knautia arvensis||Field Scabious||3.5%|
|Lathyrus pratensis||Meadow Vetchling||2%|
|Leontodon hispidus||Rough Hawkbit||2%|
|Leucanthemum vulgare||Oxeye Daisy||5%|
|Linaria vulgaris||Common Toadflax||1%|
|Lotus corniculatus||Birdsfoot Trefoil||4%|
|Malva moschata||Musk Mallow||3%|
|Plantago media||Hoary Plantain||2.5%|
|Prunella vulgaris||Self Heal||7%|
|Ranunculus acris||Meadow Buttercup||5%|
|Ranunculus bulbosus||Bulbous Buttercup||5%|
|Rhinanthus minor||Yellow Rattle||6%|
|Rumex acetosa||Common Sorrel||5%|
|Scabiosa columbaria||Small Scabious||3%|
|Silene dioica||Red Campion||4%|
|Succisa pratensis||Devilsbit Scabious||2%|
|Trifolium pratense||Wild Red Clover||2.5%|
|Verbascum nigrum||Dark Mullein||1.5%|
|Vicia cracca||Tufted Vetch||2%|
|29 Wildflower species||100%|
Several Otley in Bloom members recently did some pruning and tidying and a bit of planting at Bremner Street. We had a good turnout for this taskforce including 2 new volunteers. We cut back the overgrown shrubs and took away several very large bags of prunings and litter.
Mass Snowdrop Planting
to commemorate World War 1
Sunday 20th September at 10am, meet at The Buttercross
This September Otley in Bloom will be working with schools, community groups and other interested parties to plant snowdrops to mark the centenary of the First World War. 5000 bulbs will be planted across the town in key locations to mark this important anniversary.
Snowdrops have been chosen as they are a symbol of peace and hope, and a link to the white war graves. They are also an early source of nectar for bees. The snowdrops will flower in spring 2016, creating larger clumps every year from then on to create a lasting legacy.
If you would like to be involved, or can think of a good place to plant some snowdrops, let us know….
www.otleyinbloom.co.uk or call 01943 462390
Snowdrops and War – Some Facts
There is also a connection with the Crimean War. Unlike the poppy’s association with the blood spilt in the First World War, the purity of the snowdrop enchanted the soldiers bogged down in Crimea (1853-1856). The flowers heralded spring on the battlefield. Many survivors brought the bulbs back to plant in their gardens.
Snowdrops contain their own anti-freeze. They were harvested during the First World War to make anti-freeze for tanks.
On a sunny day, snowdrops are highly scented and give off a honey smell. If you have enough plants the perfume will fill the garden.
Summer Town Centre Planting Session
Sunday 17th May at 10am
meet at The Garden School, 9 Westgate
Would you like to help prepare Otley for Summer?
Do you like planting up containers?
Do you fancy spending a morning with like-minded people?
Join us for this event. Some of the work will be done around town, and some of the work will be done inside (so it’s safe if you want to bring children – they can get involved too).
For more details call 01943 462390.