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Saving the Flowerbeds
Thankfully the Friends were able to negotiate a "stay of execution" for the seven flowerbeds that were destined to be grassed over for at least a year. This agreement with the council has allowed us to adopt the beds and gave us time to seek the support of the local community to help us plant them with herbaceous shrubs, perennials and bulbs to prevent them being lost forever.
Update 30 October 2011
The Beaver's and Rainbow's beds have been a great success too and we hope that they have been eating the vegetables they've been growing this year and will take care of their adopted beds next year too.
Earlier this year, after obtaining a £600 grant from Marple Area Committee, we made an application to Stockport Homes for £1,000 towards the planting costs. Our grant application submission was supported by two local residents of Stockport Homes properties and was reviewed by a panel of their customers in both Marple and Brinnington. We were pleased to learn that they voted unanimously for us to be given the money and it was received recently. Our application included for a contribution of £50 each to the Beavers and Rainbows to spend on their beds too.
Whilst we've had a great response from volunteers to help in the park, we can never have too much help, so if you can spare an hour or two on the last Saturday of the month, or at any other of the week please come and join us.
Update 28 May 2011
AT LAST a large amount of plants had arrived just in time for our May task day, although still not all of them. However, there were enough to make a good start on planting up of our five adopted flowerbeds and with a very good turnout of volunteers there were plenty of willing hands to share the workload. The council had made good progress on the planting of their own three flower beds earlier in the week and the Rainbows and Beavers have also got stuck into theirs so all around things are suddenly looking much better. When the remaining plants are delivered it should not be too hard to get finished and we now just need a decent amount of rain to give everything a good watering in. Well done to all the volunteers who worked so hard today!
We have also learned that the Rainbows were successful in obtaining a grant of £150 from Marple Area Committee to help with their adopted bed but haven't heard yet if the Beavers have managed this too.
Update 1 May 2011
We are still waiting for delivery of the full complement of shrubs and perennials ordered through the council for the ornamental beds that we have adopted but with the current period of hot dry weather it is perhaps just as well that they've not been planted yet. It's hoped that we'll be able to do this during May but we need some rain to give them a chance to get established.
On the funding front, with the support of local residents from Queen's Court we have made a grant application to Stockport Homes Community fund for £1,000 towards the cost of planting the beds. If this is successful then we will have covered the costs of the first phase of planting the beds permanently. We hope to learn Stockport Homes' decision in a couple of months time. The Beavers and Rainbows have also made applications to Marple Area Committee for a small grant towards the planting costs for their adopted beds but we haven't heard the outcome of these yet.
Update 6 March 2011
Unfortunately the weather wasn't very helpful for our February Task Day but we were at least able to redefine the borders of the adopted beds so they no longer look like they've been flattened. Hopefully we will catch up during March!
Better news on the funding front is that on Wednesday 2 March Marple Area Committee approved our application for £600 towards the cost of planting up the adopted beds, which means we have two of the five covered already. Our local Councillors expressed strong support for the plans to save the beds and our other activities in the park, which was much appreciated.
We are currently waiting for details of the council's planting scheme using shrubs and perennials and confirmation of the costs. We look forward to having more news soon.
Saving the Ornamental Flowerbeds from being Grassed Over!
The council’s cost saving plan for the flowerbeds in Marple Memorial Park was to keep the main circular bed with the birdbath at its centre and just two of the others - one either side of the path running from Hollins House towards the war memorial (numbers 1, 2 and 3 in the diagram). The remaining seven ornamental beds shown in white were to be grassed over in order to save money.
Having convinced the council to hold off grassing over the beds, the Friends have also agreed that some of them can be put to a different use, including the growing of vegetables. Following this two of the beds were offered to Marple Beavers and Marple Rainbow groups to grow a mix of plants and vegetables and to maintain the beds themselves.
Leaders of both groups have responded enthusiastically and the Beavers will be taking on bed number 5 and the Rainbows bed number 4 on the plan. We're looking forward to some interesting contributions from both teams, who have some great ideas, and hope the children will enjoy getting more involved in the park.
The three flowerbeds that were to be kept by the council will be planted up by them with herbaceous shrubs, perennial plants and bulbs so that it is no longer necessary to replant them once or twice each year, as has been the case in years gone by. The remaining five beds will be planted to match these three but will be funded, planted and maintained by the Friends of the Park.
The budget cost for planting a bed with herbaceous shrubs, perennials and bulbs in the same way as planned by the council is £250 - £300 each, giving a total cost for the five beds of £1,250 to £1,500. The Friends of the Park have sufficient funds in place to do this but it will make a big dent in our reserves, so we shall be seeking help from a variety of sources for additional money to recover these costs wherever possible.
An Area Flexibility Fund application has been made to Marple Area Committee asking for £600 towards the cost of plants for two of the beds and this will be considered by the committee at their next meeting on 2nd March 2011. In the meantime, in order to achieve the benefits of bulk ordering, the Friends have asked the council to provide an accurate price for the supply of plants and shrubs for the five adopted beds so that they can be ordered at the same time as those for the three beds being done by them.
In order to encourage donations from a variety of sources it is proposed to install a discrete low wooden rail in one of the beds that can be used to display engraved plaques as an acknowledgement of contributions. This would also present an opportunity for donations to be made in memory of a loved one, in a similar way that benches have been donated to the park in the past.
Having set all this in motion we now need the support of the local community to help us to succeed. If you, or an organisation you represent can help with a donation towards the cost of the plants then we would be delighted to hear from you. Perhaps even more importantly, if you can spare an hour or two on the last Saturday of each month to help us with preparation and planting of the beds, and the many other tasks in the park, then we would love to welcome you as a Friend of the Park.