Otley flower beds saved for wildlife
Over two days in May four large flower beds in Wharfemeadows Park, Otley were saved for wildlife and planted with over 900 pollinating and nectar-loving plants by volunteer wildlife lovers from Otley in Bloom, Otley 2030 and Wildlife Friendly Otley as well as residents from houses on Bridge Avenue which overlooks the beds.
The planting, which will help bees, butterflies and pollinating insects, came about when local wildlife enthusiasts heard that the flowers beds were going to be grassed over because of cuts to Leeds City Council budgets. With the help of OtleyTown councillor Paul Carter and Otley’s Leeds City councillor Sandy Lay, the Parks & Countryside department were persuaded by Wildlife Friendly Otley to allow the beds to be planted with pollinating plants. A partnership agreement was drawn up and Parks department delivered 840 plants.
Otley In Bloom organised the planting with the help of the volunteers and all three groups will help maintain the beds. Over 200 plants were put in each bed with a mixture of 15 varieties such as, lavender, foxgloves, alliums, geums, scabious, echinacea, salvia and sedum. Otley in Bloom have also added more plants such as verbena and more sedum to bring the total to over 900.
Elaine Hannan from Otley in Bloom said: “The varieties will provide not just a colourful display for locals and visitors to enjoy by much needed nectar and pollinating plants for threatened insects.”
Jane Smith, committee member of Wildlife Friendly Otley and who has been petitioning Leeds Council for some time to plant or seed more wildflower beds added: “There has been a very positive reaction from locals to the new planting, especially as the beds were threatened with being grassed over. We appreciate the help of local councillors in getting Leeds City Council to agree to the restoration of some of the beds.
“It’s a start but a lot more needs to be done if Leeds is to meet its target on improving biodiversity and tackling climate change. Protecting nature, our wildlife and biodiversity is as vital as cutting carbon emissions. Insects, which are responsible for pollinating the plants which provide almost half our food, have suffered a steep decline in only last few decades because of pollution, pesticides and herbicides. Wildlife Friendly Otley would like to see more council sites on roundabouts, grass verges, and swathes in parks given over to wildflower seeds or reduced mowing, to allow the natural flora to flourish.”
Photos show volunteers planting at Wharfemeadows Park and some of the planted up beds.