Our campaign to save 28 historic flower beds has paid off. The Council’s Land and Environmental Services has agreed that although their gardeners can no longer plant these beds several times a year with bulbs and annual plants, they will be planted with more sustainable alternatives.
The Council offered three options and the Friends of Victoria Park and Whiteinch Community Council have both agreed on Option 2 which involves planting the beds with hardy ornamental shrubs such as dwarf hydrangeas and miniature rhododendrons - both popular forms of planting in Victorian gardens. It’s estimated this will save the Council £21,000 a year and cost £2000 a year to maintain although there will be an initial one off outlay of £16,000. Planting the 28 beds with annuals costs £23,000 a year.
The Council will continue to plant bulbs and flowers in the 30 remaining flower beds and the Friends has asked that the scheme should be planned so that the shrubs and flower beds complement each other to maintain the high impact of the gardens.
The view from ‘the No 1’ bench on the hill above the large expanse of formal flowerbeds was featured on the well loved TV series Still Game.
Both the Friends of Victoria Park and Whiteinch Community Council felt the alternative options offered of ornamental grasses or wild flowers would not work well on the formal flower beds but the commemorative arches surrounding the flower beds may be filled with more wild flowers where this won’t upset the habitat for the rare Andrina bees that are nesting there.
Elizabeth Brown, Vice Chairperson of the Friends said: “We would like to thank the three Councillors for Victoria Park Ward, Ade Aibinu, Feargal Dalton and Maggie McTernan who all gave us their support. We would also thank Land Services staff for looking at this issue again as we know they are under enormous pressure to reduce their costs. We would also like to thank everyone who supported the campaign and turned out to our demonstration in June.
“It is still sad to lose the colourful annual planting on 28 of the 59 flower beds to save just £23,000 a year, but this option at least means we will keep the formal historic layout of the park. It gives us the heart to press on with our efforts to obtain funding for a fernery at the Fossil Grove which has been going downhill since annual planting stopped almost a decade ago.
It transpired during discussions with Land Services that 80 percent of the colourful annual planting that was done in the City has already gone. We are seriously worried about the lack of investment in parks across Glasgow.”
The Friends of Victoria Park, community councils and other groups are working together on the Victoria Park Action Group to form a Trust that will seek to work with the Council to improve the park.