NEWBRIDGE IN BOOM & FLORAL DISPLAYS
KILDARE / NEWBRIDGE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
BORD na MÓNA
In 2004 Newbridge Tidy Towns Association decided that it was time to add some floral colour to the town centre for the summer months.
The Association approached the issue of floral colour in two ways:-
- An Annual flower display – with summer and winter colour provided in flower containers;
- A Perennial planting scheme – planting beds with perinnial flowers, shrubs and bulbs;
Newbridge in Bloom
Having consulted widely with town residents and with landscaping professionals, the Association decided that the success of Newbridge in Bloom would depend largely on creating an instant visual impact by positioning pre-filled “planters” and containers in carefully selected locations throughout the town, and these locations need to be chosen to enable regular watering, feeding and “dead-heading” the flowers in the planters and railing boxes.
This was also the advice given to Tidy Towns Groups nationally in the “Tidy Towns Handbook” which states that “bedding plants and hanging baskets can make a huge contribution in terms of colour, but choose them to suit their surroundings – existing colours, stonework and paving, for example – and remember that a small number of large containers makes more of an impact and will be easier to maintain”
While in the early years of this project we had numerous hanging baskets throughout the town, we have in recent years restricted the use of hanging baskets to specific areas. The use of hanging baskets requires a high level of maintenance, and substantial water resources.
The aim of Newbridge in Bloom is to have a significant floral display in the town during the months June to September which will bring a splash of colour to the main commercial centre of the town.
Planting for All Year Round Effect:
Newbridge Tidy Towns commenced a Winter planting project in although this is restricted to floral displays at the major junctions at St. Conleth’s Bridge, Athgarvan Road and Moorefield Road Junctions. Local Horticulturist Mr. Jer Delaney of Gardens to Groom has been contracted to prepare the planting scheme. We plan colour schemes which are designed to attract the attention of residents and visitors alike, and help showcase Newbridge as a major residential and retail centre. This involves planting 190 planters in the town’s main commercial centre.
- A number of “half barrier units” – Railing Planters – are generally positioned on the wall / railing of the County Library, The Riverbank Arts Centre, the Athgarvan Road Junction, Military Road / Moorefield Road Junction, and on the “Bandstand” in the Liffey Linear Park;
- We have positioned larger Cube Planters on “islands” on approach roads and high profile locations, such as the Athgarvan Road Junction, Military Road / Moorefield Road Junction and at St. Conleth’s Bridge;
- “Saucer” type planters displayed on metal legs are positioned along main commercial streets, at junctions, approach roads;
- We have limited the use of Hanging Baskets, and only use a specific design which incorporates a water trough & wick system which significantly reduces the amount of water which would be wasted. These are limited to the Liffey Linear Park and Georges Street;
One of the tasks which must to be carried out on a regular (weekly) basis commencing a few weeks after the planters are positioned on the streets, is “dead-heading”. This is essential as removing dead flower heads encourages the plants to produce new flower heads. A number of volunteers from KARE Newbridge tend to the planters in the vicinity of the Bridge and at the Athgarvan Road Junction, and we appreciate their help in this regard.
We would welcome any assistance which could be provided by volunteers in this regard, if you are available for an hour or so per week during the summer please contact the Tidy Towns Association by ‘phone or text or Email Newbridge Tidy Towns Association
A Perennial planting scheme
We are working to create a more sustainable floral and colour display, and with the aim of reducing the resources use in landscaping – primarily water. Therefore we are developing a number of static flower beds, and these beds are being designed to require minimal maintenance – biannual trimming and mulching, use of natural composts, natural watering (rainfall), and no use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.
To date two areas have been developed the Tidy Towns Association – the bed at the Garda Station and at the Park Entrance, a bed has also been developed adjacent to St. Conleth’s Church, and Kildare County Council have developed similar planting schemes on the Athgarvan Road, on Moorefield Road and at Buckley’s Cross. Residents Associations have also created perennially planted areas.
Choice of plants is important as with Perennials you plant once and they will last for years to come with minimal (if timely) maintenance. Therefore consider the spread and height of plants – we have information on Tree planting here (link to tree planting page), and it is best to plant native plants and shrubs, and it is best to avoid artificial fertilisers – natural compost can be used as both a fertiliser and a mulch.
As the plants will be in situ for some time to come, it makes financial sense not to purchase poor quality plants because they are cheaper – it is best to spend your budget on good quality plants and bulbs. Be careful to avoid planting invasive species, but try to buy plants which will have colour regardless whether we have a good or poor summer – and will also have some colour during the winter and spring as well.
At a seminar organised by Kildare County Council in December 2014, Yvonne O’Connor provided the following list of suggested plants which could be considered:
- Osteospermum spp. – good ground cover, flowers all summer….clip early summer;
- Persicaria – good ground cover, flowers all summer….clip in spring;
- Anthemis cupiana – good ground cover, flowers all summer….clip late summer;
- Nemesia – good border plant, flowers all summer….clip late summer;
- Daiscia – good border plant, flowers all summer….clip in spring;
- Dianthus spp. – good border plant, flowers all summer;
- Gazania – very “showy”…. plant to mix in with bedding;
- Galliardia – very “showy”…. plant to mix in with bedding;
- Heuchera spp. – lots of different colours available, and looks well as a border or a complete bed;
- Nepeta – shrubby, low, great colour all summer;
- Lavatera (dwarf) – shrubby, low, great colour all summer
Hardy annuals (Sow seeds directly into their final positions)
- Poppies – flower early to mid-summer;
- Nasturtiums – use dwarf varieties;
- Larkspur Tall;
- Clarkia (Godetia) – flowers all summer;
- Stock Mid – summer flowering;
- Calendula – flowers all summer;
- Centaurea (cornflower) – mid to late summer
Seeds can be gathered and sown the following year, alternatively the plants can be allowed to seed in situ. Hardy annual seeds can be mixed in with other perennial or low shrub planting to add colour.
Planter Technical Information:
Self-Watering Planter Units are double walled construction and designed with a built in water storage and capillary action wick and dispersal matting system, they do not leak, minimize evaporation, therefore as they are more water efficient they need only be watered once or twice a week. They can be supplied with inner liners which facilitate off-site planting up. They come in approximately 18 different colours and in a number of sizes. In short, they save water, time and money, and as they are made from recyclable polyethylene, the units are virtually maintenance free and are carbon friendly
Supplier: Amberol Ltd.
We use the following products:
- Half Unit Up-the-Pole Baskets (Dimensions – Diameter 590mm Depth 270mm) are designed to be positioned around existing lamp posts requiring two units per assembly;
- Half Barrier Basket (Dimensions – Length 1270mm Width 260mm Depth 240mm) are designed to be positioned on railings (by means of metal brackets) or on window sills;
- Promenade Planter (Dimensions – Length 1500mm Width 500mm Depth 750mm) are designed to be positioned freestanding on the ground;
- Metre Square Planter (Dimensions Length 1040mm Width 1040mm Depth 750mm) are designed to be positioned freestanding on the ground, there is also an option to create a tiered effect up to a height of 1.70 Metres;
Supplier – saucer planters CMi Modular Insulation
Prior to sourcing the Self-Watering Units we purchased single walled “Saucer Planters” which are not as efficient in terms of minimizing evaporation, therefore as they are less water efficient. As we replace planters we will be phasing in new Self-Watering Planter Units as budgets allow. These planters are positioned on metal stands designed to suit the diameter of the saucer planters.
Supplier – metal legs for saucer planters Nugent Manufacturing Limited
Unit Q2 M7 Business Park, Newhall, Naas
We use metal legs to raise these Saucer Planters from the ground, thus ensuring the best floral display.
Bord na Móna