Colourful planters have popped up across Blackburn as part of the “Growing Places’ campaign, led by Blackburn BID.
Sue Jeffries, Garden Advice and Training consultant, has been commissioned to work with different community groups across the town centre. She has been helping the groups to design and plant their very own raised beds for Growing Places, which is part of Blackburn in Bloom 2021.
The project is funded by Blackburn BID, Blackburn with Darwen Council ‘Our Community Our Future’ grant funding, and Blackburn with Darwen Council’s 5 Ways to Wellbeing fund.
Sue said: “We wanted to get a diverse range of people involved – both young and old. By involving various community groups in the planning and planting, it not only gives them ownership and a connection to what they have created, it also ensures each planter is different. We wanted them to have a go and show that everyone has green fingers.”
Sue has worked with six groups to develop a planting theme for the urban gardens and helped them with the installation to ensure that the plants selected flower at different times of the year and are constantly evolving.
Young people from Blackburn Youth Zone (BYZ) chose the theme ‘colourful’ for their planters, which they will also be painting in bright colours, while young women from Blackburn College’s Health and Social Care course chose two distinct moods – ‘calm and vibrant’ to model their plants.
Child Action North West’s LGBTQ+ group chose colourful plants to echo the LGBTQ+ flag, arranged in rainbow order and a group from BwD Adult Learning ran with the wildlife theme, installing plants that attract bees and butterflies like buddleia and geraniums.
Volunteers from Blackburn Foodbank decided to create edible beds full of fruits and herbs, and finally, Age UK created a miniature reminiscence garden that would trigger memories, with flowering currants and lavender.
Sue said: “The groups had a lot of fun deciding on a theme and planting the beds. The idea is they will continue to look after the planters and ensure they always look this good.”
Catherine Price, Blackburn town centre BID Manager, said the project has been a huge success.
“I’ve had wonderful feedback from the groups involved and people who have been admiring their hard work. Existing planters at the Youth Zone and Blackburn College have been brought back to life and amazing new planters have been built to create a pocket park at Richmond Gardens. We hope this will just be the start of a green fingered army around Blackburn.”
Blackburn in Bloom has won gold awards for 4 years running in the North West in Bloom competition, and was among the finalists in the Business Improvement Districts, Town Centres and City Centres category of the 2020 Britain In Bloom competition. The event did not go ahead due to Covid-19 last year, but Blackburn hope to impress judges once again when they return to the town in August.