Council cuts spring bedding for Redbridge parks

Redbridge parks could be looking less colourful this spring after the council cut spring bedding in favour of a “more sustainable” scheme.

Staff usually plant pansies, forget-me-nots, wallflowers, primulas and other flowers in council-maintained parks.

Children from South Park Primary School, in Seven Kings, took it upon themselves to plant flowers after hearing the news.

Teaching assistant Janet Mahmud took the gardening club to the park on Thursday to plant daffodils.

The green-fingered school won this year’s Redbridge in Bloom competition in the Best London 2012-Inspired School Gardening Project category.

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Members of the South Park Users Group are also hoping to plant some flowers of their own.

Secretary Anne Hoad said: “It’s a shame but with cutbacks there’s not much you can do.

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“It’s not just the cost of buying the plants, it’s the man hours maintaining them and re-doing them time after time.”

Gardener Sue Cunningham, of the Seven Kings and Goodmayes Allotment Society, said that all-year-round planting would be better than the current system of planting new bedding and replacing it seasonally.

She added: “If you leave bulbs in, some of them may die and the flowers aren’t as regimented, but they will come up year after year.

“I’ve always thought it was a waste to throw plants away.

“I think it would be nice if we went back to wildflowers and an English country garden feel like they had in the Olympic Park.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said a “more sustainable planting programme” is being investigated.

She added: “During the last few years, the spring bedding schemes have not come into full bloom until late spring or early summer, which is when the plants are being pulled out for the beds to prepare for the summer planting.

“The money that would have been used for the planting of spring bedding will be used for more sustainable planting schemes in Redbridge parks.”

Bulbs that come up year after year, including daffodils, are still being planted in the borough.

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