Sunday, 18 March 2018

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE


WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE

Dundee City hopes to become a great holiday destination for visitors and tourists. The waterfront development with the new V&A, new train station and hotels will boost visitor numbers together with existing visitor attractions including Discovery Quay, Camperdown Park,
Dundee in Bloom 1990 oil painting
  Broughty Ferry  beach, swimming pool, skating rink, golf courses, vibrant night life with music in pubs and clubs and numerous other interesting tourist attractions. My problem as an older Dundee citizen is that I remember the days when we were also a very colourful city with flowers everywhere in Parks, open spaces and people’s gardens. We were very proud
Geraniums with a date palm
of our ability to create great flower displays. I had the benefit of a five year gardening apprenticeship as the Dundee parks took on about fifteen new apprentices every year. They were needed to grow and propagate all those flowers, trees, shrubs and roses which brightened up the town. The Parks Manager Sandy Dow was a trained horticulturalist who just loved flowers, so we grew bedding plants at Camperdown glasshouses by the thousand, and also roses by the thousand at the nursery. We were taught great gardening skills and took pride in creating our colourful city. All parks had great displays of summer and spring bedding with wallflowers and tulips and even all the housing estates had rose beds in
Impatiens hanging basket
grass verges, and the town centre had vibrant flower beds everywhere.
Down at council house level, the new tenants, many from the demolished Overgate found themselves with a garden where they could grow free food. Then a competitive spirit emerged as front gardens got a flower border and the competition for the most colourful impact of flowers resulted in a profusion of geraniums, begonias, salvias, antirrhinums and other bedding and always edged with alyssum and lobelia. These were great times for Dundee. No decent garden would be
without the red Paul Crampel geranium, as well as the pink Christine and white Hermione, and we extended our planting schemes from flower beds to tubs, window boxes and hanging baskets.
Then
Pink Dahlia
Britain in Bloom competition for the whole of UK reared its head and flower power was everything. New flower beds were created in the town centre (now a taxi rank) and grass verges got planted with drifts of daffodils and crocus by the thousand to brighten up the roads into the town.
Time moves on and fashion changes and our Parks manager retired. Competition in the Britain in Bloom was fierce with Aberdeen way ahead with more roses and masses of daffodils. Slowly flower beds in Dundee disappeared. Interest in gardening waned as other social activities took prominence, then as the townsfolk got wealthier and car ownership exploded and people needed somewhere to park. Gardens were then changed into hard standing for the cars. Lawns, roses and flowers are slowly disappearing from the private gardens as slabs, sets and gravel take over.
Flower power in Dundee centre is now hard to
Wendy enjoys the Oriental poppies
find, but as we all look to ways to improve the appearance for our perceived increase in visitor numbers the use of flowering plants should not be underestimated. Spring and summer bedding plants will always give impact but need trained gardeners to grow and look after them so there is an added cost.
Mixed tulips
However the benefits of creating a town with an impressive show of flowers, is well worth the cost. Flowering shrubs like forsythia, philadelphus, rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and many more, and numerous large shrub roses are all easy to grow and fairly vandal proof and labour free. Other plants for impact such as dahlias and oriental lilies could be found a space in parks borders where vandalism is less prone. The impact of flowers will always enhance the visitors experience and give them more reason to return with friends for another visit.

Wee jobs to do this week

Erect
Tunnels over early strawberries
low polythene tunnels over a row of established strawberries of an early variety like Honeoye, Mae or Christine. Make sure the ends are secure so they will withstand strong winds. The row will need extra watering during sunny spells as the polythene will prevent rain keeping the plants moist. The first fruits should be ready for picking at the end of May.

END

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