Summer 2021

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.

Autumn clean-up

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.

Charles St carpark

Weston Lane flowerbeds replanted

Otley in Bloom, the Woodcraft Folk and Otley Labour Party are collaborating to renovate and replant the three flowerbeds in the grass verge at the junction of Weston Lane and Weston Drive.  The Woodcraft Folk have the left hand bed which they have planted with bulbs, and they will be planting wildlife-friendly flowers later.  Otley in Bloom have the centre bed, and the Labour party have the one on the right, which have been topped up with a large amount of compost, and planted with some perennials and bulbs.  They will also have wildlife-friendly flowers added later.  This was a big job, and lots of people turned up to help us, from the Labour party and locally, (thanks, everyone!), so we got the job done in a couple of hours, followed by a much-needed cuppa and a cake.  The original rose bushes are still there, they have been pruned which hopefully will encourage them to flower better.