Bloomin’ brilliant

Gardening staff members pictured at the stunning Ward Jackson park flower garden are(left to right) Tommy Curry, Billy O Connor, Malcolm Caden, Tony Davison and Tony Corr.
Gardening staff members pictured at the stunning Ward Jackson park flower garden are(left to right) Tommy Curry, Billy O Connor, Malcolm Caden, Tony Davison and Tony Corr.

STREETS, parks and paths in Hartlepool are awash with colour.

But behind the finery of the flowers is a lot of hard work.

A team from Hartlepool Borough Council has spent months making sure the town blossoms at this time of year.

Up to 90 people have been involved in sorting out the beds and baskets and work to a £100,000 budget, which covers both the summer and winter planting.

Chris Wenlock, parks and countryside manager for the council, said: “We are really proud of how the town is looking.

“It’s really pleasing to see the hard work of the lads and ladies paying off at a time when we are all facing pressures and challenges.”

The council used to grow all their own plants from seed but in the last year have started buying in young plants to plant out straight away.

Mr Wenlock added: “We are doing what everyone is in the council and finding ways to save money.

“We can’t compete with these big international growers when it comes to cost. They can grow them at a fraction of the price we can, so it makes sense to buy them in.”

The flower bed designs and planting plans for the summer are drawn up as far back as December, with staff often coming up with the ideas in their own time.

Hundreds of plants arrived in the town in March, sparking the team’s busiest week of the year as they frantically got them separated and put in the ground and baskets around the town before any perished.

But the work did not stop there, as in the dead of night council staff go out watering the baskets and beds during any dry spells and have to keep them looking tidy and weed-free.

Mr Wenlock said: “The critical thing is that the majority of the people involved live in the town, including myself, so we take great pride in making it look good.

“There is a great sense of achievement when you see it all on a nice sunny day. They all go home quite pleased with themselves for what they have done, and rightly so.”

And it’s not just a case of making the town look good – they want to make it look better than other displays across the region.

Mr Wenlock added: “There is a little bit of competition, not formally, but you want to make sure your town puts on a good show.

“We have some really talented people here.”