Council / Public Planting


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Council / Public Planting

Postby Kano31 » 19 Feb 2008 12:16

I am looking for suggestions and start a debate.

Council planting in the Public realm, like parks, streets, housing estates etc can have huge impact on a persons enjoyment or disappointment of local public spaces. Some parks and streets are given special attention for awards and tourism. But what about everyone else, the local people. Council planting out with special areas can be seen as boring, harsh and empty of interest. The planting suffers from, lack of imagination, napalm weed killing, lack of resources, unskilled workers (due to budget cuts), harsh pruning, root disturbance with excessive soil clearance and hierarchical management rather than local evolution and ownership.

As a concerned designer in the Public sector, trying to give the public exciting planting can be extremely difficult. Would your members have suggestions of strong exciting planting that could withstand and spread in the harsh environment of the public sector.
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Postby gardening_guru » 22 Feb 2008 21:42


I agree with your comments about public sector/public space planting schemes. What surprises me most is that the local authorities are very often strapped for cash and yet they often choose seasonal bedding schemes that require regular change and lots of maintenance.

You also see money wasted on plantings that require lots of maintenance and it simply does not happen. Young trees are planted on roadsides and then left to compete against surrounding vegetation e.g. grass that chokes them to death. When we have long, hot summers, how often do you see such young tree plantings being watered by local authority staff? In an ideal world such weather would warrant twice weekly waterings at least, I don’t think that happens?

What you do see is such plantings being periodically replaced without any lessons learnt.

What I would like to see is local authorities consulting private sector plants people about which plants are low maintenance and drought tolerant. Ideally, maintenance should be restricted to regular weeding, an annual pruning session and no post establishment watering requirements.

Plants that meet all of the above criteria and could be used more often in local authority planting schemes include Penstemon, Buddleja, Cornus, Papaver, Miscanthus and Gleditsiato name but a few.
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