Horticulture

2013 HIGHLIGHTS

July 2013  – what a contrast to recent summers! Three weeks of glorious sunshine, July 2013combined with regular watering, is helping the town’s floral displays to look superb. The bedding planting at Petheram Bridge (at the A91 entrance point) and along The Scores (see picture on right) is tremendous – thank you, Fife Council!

DSC00059New planters have been installed in Market Street – including two stunning galvanised containers with a “pyramid” feature which will help the flowers to be seen over parked cars and the like (see picture on left).

Finally for now, the wildflower strip along the A91 and the new “Dunhill Links Championship” feature bedding are also now looking good – we hope to add photos here soon.

May 2013 – a batch of new hanging baskets receive their first watering

June 2013 – Soon it will be time to move the baskets down to the town and put them in place for the summer.

The re-skinned, kitted-out polytunnel, May 2013

May 2013 – after the cold and wet spring, all the plants are 3-4 weeks behind what might usually be expected. But our new polytunnels, now kitted out with watering system and table-height access – will help a lot, as will the weather – suddenly, it’s much warmer!

It’s been a busy month for the volunteers, firstly cleaning out last year’s hanging baskets and then undertaking the big task of refilling and planting them. By 28 May, they were all done, and the sun started to shine!

April 2013 St Andrews in Bloom volunteers organised by Henry Paul, and assisted by the brilliant Tom Wood and his team from Allanhill Farm, put in a power of work which saw the two polytunnels at Craigtoun Depot cleared, repaired and reskinned.

Polytunnel refurbishment, April 2013

Polytunnel refurbishment, April 2013

The polytunnels will provide a sheltered, mild environment in which young plants can be nurtured and grown on before thay are planted out in the 200+ tubs, baskets and planters around the town which are looked after by St Andrews in Bloom.

REVIEW OF 2012

Bulbs and plants were ordered and then planted out in October 2011, and the lights added to the trees in November, ready for the Merchants’ Association Christmas light switch on.

The lights switch-on!

For our winter/spring planting, we used as a focal point Nordman firs, some of which we have kept and used in this years summer planting, these were decorated with battery powered Christmas lights which were greatly admired by the town’s residents. The planters were under planted with spring bulbs of tete a tete daffodils ,early and late tulips and red polyanthus, our summer planting provides vibrant displays into October, or longer depending on the weather!!

Summer colour

For 2012’s summer planting, our colour scheme was mainly blue, white, orange and purple, depending on the area. We used more sustainable planting to carry through and give colour into winter where suitable – a combination of dwarf blue cedars, veronica, purple sedum, and lavenders, to name a few. Summer bedding plants included single dahlias to attract more nectar- and pollen-loving insects. We are fortunate in having friends whose nursery brings on our plug plants – enabling us to grow more plants, as we do not have the manpower or space to be entirely independent.

We trialled peat-free compost along with reduced peat compost with added green waste and we will go over to total peat-free compost in 2013 if the results are satisfactory this year.

More planters were put out around the town in 2012. We are about at our limit in the centre of town, as many of them have to be collected up for the week of the Lammas Fair, this being the oldest fun fair in Scotland. It takes place the second week of August, and as many of the rides are roof level, the hanging baskets are taken down too – a lot of work, as they all have to be put back in place afterwards!

The Harbour area is very important, as ours is a working harbour as well as a place that provides enjoyment for visitors. Together with adding a new flowerbed down at the Harbour wall, extra barrels were planted to enhance this well-used area. We also carried out additional planting to a shingle bed recreated on the cliff top from reclaimed land and we have collaborated with the Friends of St Andrews Harbour organisation and local residents who will help take care of these areas.

The majority of our self-watering hanging baskets are erected along South Street;  it is hoped that the new lamp posts in North Street will also have new brackets attached, enhancing an area we can work on in the future. The St Andrews Bed and Breakfast Association and local residents agreed to help maintain and dead-head the planters in both these areas during 2012. This was a great help, as we have increased the number of planters around the town and the resident groups are keen to be involved.

The community garden in Bakers Lane continues to be well used and is a welcome stop for many in their lunch break; over the last few years we have helped maintain and plant it, this year adding new pollen-friendly plants. The local residents and some of the students living nearby add plants and help to look after it.

We are fortunate to have the help and expertise of the staff at the Botanic Garden who help us out with the use of their greenhouses, storage and muscle power !

This year we have worked with the Community Payback scheme who have refurbished all of our barrels and planters and we were extremely grateful to our local DIY store who donated the wood paint. The Community Payback workers also helped us to tidy up an unsightly corner of Cockshaugh Park leading onto the Lade Braes – this was much appreciated by the residents who overlook it. Our flower planters there have given a brighter look to the area, and the scheme also refurbished the seats and tree guards.

We were fortunate in that the Fairmont Hotel agreed to sponsor the Petheram Bridge roundabout. This has enabled it to be replanted and maintained for five years. This high profile area is seen by thousands as they enter the town on the A91. Another area which is photographed by many visitors is the St Andrews welcome sign on the A91. This year, we took away the flower bed as we had problems with the wind and rabbits. The Links Trust kindly re-turfed the area, two bespoke steel planters were commissioned for this area and we have planted them with sustainable long term planting. Fife Council have recently replanted an entire length of the grass kerbside nearby with a wildflower meadow, this carries up to the section planted with thousands of daffodils donated by Rotary, and we look forward to seeing the results in the years to come.

At the end of the season, our compost is added to the recycling section at The Botanic Garden to be reused there. Any bulbs and plants that are still in good condition are passed on to the schools and also sold to raise funds to help with the following year’s funding.