LOCALS and visitors to Drymen have long enjoyed floral displays in planters and beds around the village, but there’s more to Drymen in Bloom than initially meets – and pleases – the eye.
For the project – started more than 20 years ago by Marina Brennan – has evolved into a wider programme that sees the community playing a growing part in general village maintenance and coming to together to build natural habitats not just for flowers and plants, but for the wildlife that pollinates them.
“We have a team of 18 ladies who each look after a barrel or planter,” says Clare Young who took over the role of organiser from Marina a few years ago.
“Twice a year we give them give them compost along with plants in spring and bulbs in the Autumn and instructions on what’s to come out and go in the bin. We rely on them to look after their barrel or planter, especially watering over the summer.”
But the project also relies on folks to help take up the inevitable slack resulting from council cutbacks in keeping the place looking good – from litter-picking to calling the council if a lorry damages a grit bin the car park and it needs replaced.
“It’s about pride in the local area,” says Clare. “And we’re always looking for people to help out.
“When I got involved a couple of years ago I had kids at Drymen primary school and was involved with a group of parents at the school – gardening, tidying up the outside area, planting seeds, sunflowers, strawberries…all the kind of stuff you can do very quickly with kids.”
It was apparent to Clare that there were lots of local families and kids who, given the opportunity, might enjoy being involved with Drymen in Bloom so last year she she organised Saturday morning sessions where everyone could get together and
“The Saturdays were really successful,” says Clare. “We established a new herb garden in the square outside butcher and library and focussed on planting to encourage pollinators – plants that the butterflies and bees can feed on. The kids really get all that because it’s related to what they’re learning at school.
“It also gave us a chance to show the kids how to use tools – like sharp secateurs – safely.”
This year, though, the Saturday morning sessions didn’t take off which Clare suspects is down to the reduced visibility of planting activity in and around the square: “We put a huge amount of time and work in last year and we can’t do that all the time.
“Also, the diggers and creation of new beds attracted lots of attention which helped get folks involved.
While there’s not a lot of work over the winter months, Clare and her colleagues are keen to maintain the community aspect of the project and hope to reinvigorate folks’ interest in getting involved when things get busy come next spring.
“We have people coming together of all ages from across the community – people enjoy the experience of getting together and and the work isn’t always strictly gardening – it could be moving things around or picking up litter. The idea is to create spaces that don’t need a massive amount of maintenance – improving the environment for both people and wildlife. And folks don’t need any special knowledge or experience to be involved.
“We’re really open to all ideas and might re-think the Saturday morning sessions thing which don’t suit a lot of families as there’s so may other activities at that time.”
- To find out more about Drymen in Bloom and how to get involved contact Clare on 07540 398200.
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