Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Planting bulbs

Today we planted 50 Allium 'Purple Sensation' bulbs in the Lowtown seating area. These will flower in early summer, then get attractive seed heads. The flowers are loved by bees.

The beds are still looking good even thought it is late October. We will go back and dead head a few plants later, however, we will leave some of the seedheads on to look decorative through the winter and feed the birds.
The rudbeckias are still covered in flowers and the grasses have grown really well. All the grasses (and several of the other perennials) are evergreen so will provide lots of interest during the winter. The stipa arundinacea (the orange-ish one) looks especially good and the stipa giganteas have lots of impressive flower spikes on at the moment.
These beds contained rose bushes before, which would have just been bare twigs during the winter, so I think we have definitely greatly improved this area. There are still lots of parts of Pudsey still containing dated rose beds (Pudsey Park, Sparrow Park, etc) so we will be able to compare the Lowtown area we planted to these.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Planting crocus and alliums

Today we planted bulbs in the barrier troughs which contain drought tolerant alpine plants and succulents. We planted about 50 alliums and 350 crocus in total in the 7 troughs and the 2 containers by the park entrance.

The crocus varieties we chose are 'Barr's Purple' and 'Snowbunting', which are purple and white respectively (as you probably guessed from the names!) These will flower in February. The alliums we chose are a small species, allium azureum, which gets pale blue flowers in early summer.

The barrier troughs were planted up with alpines and succulents as an experiment to see if we could find a greener way of planting up containers. Usually the troughs contain bedding plants, which are bad for the environment due to the amount of water they require and the fact they have to be replaced every season. It also makes them very expensive; to have just one trough planted and watered by the council for just the summer would cost £100. By using alpines they cost us just under £20 each to plant up, nothing for water, and they will last for many years.

Due to the huge amount of rain the plants weren't quite as happy as they could have been! However, they have still lasted well and will look even better next year, especially now we have added some bulbs.