Chris Maclean: An idea blossoms

By Chris Maclean

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Garden

It has been a family joke that although my wife is a trained gardener and horticulturalist we've never had a pub with a garden. For me this is a...

It has been a family joke that although my wife is a trained gardener and horticulturalist we've never had a pub with a garden. For me this is a perfectly wonderful position. From my limited memory of gardens they are nothing but trouble. If there is heavy, dirty unpleasant work to be done in the garden then it inevitably fell to me. All I can associate with gardening therefore is grief.

But my wife has never neglected her training. She has always managed to create a vibrant display outside the pub and in our previous village pub we won several minor awards for her displays. But here it is a little different.

On our front doorsteps we have a couple of small tubs with a decent display of greenery. But they have to be chained to the wall. For some inexplicable reason some young lads think the pots look better turned on their sides with the contents strewn across the path. They seem unable to resist the temptation.

We've had plants stolen out of them. Plants that only cost a few pence from the market. I'd gladly give them the money rather than have to replace them. Plant pots have also become the new ashtrays.

It seems difficult to conceive of a planting scheme that would at once be both decorative and immune from the vandalising minority.

But I was heartened last week when a customer suggested the local authority had a scheme which provided plants for businesses. It doesn't, as it happens, but looking at the council's out of date website I was shocked to discover the Railway Hotel had been awarded Best Business Floral Display in the borough only a couple of years ago. Surely it must be some mistake?

But I've checked and it appears there was a time, not too long ago, when the Railway Hotel was bedecked with flowers and was a horticultural delight. Have circumstance changed so much in that time?

Well, er, no.

When I examined the outside carefully the evidence was there to see. Decent, hard to reach, hanging basket brackets. A sophisticated automated watering system. Heavy duty window-box frames. I wasn't Indiana Jones but I felt I was detecting the presence of a lost civilisation. There had been something beautiful there before. It will require a lot of attention and investment but the potential is still there.

Last week I visited a local professional nursery that had provided an excellent display for another licensee locally and for not too much money (20 quid for an established hanging basket I thought good value). It was a very impressive place and I have high hopes of a good relationship in the future. Sadly he had no more established baskets in stock and it's a little too late to start one. But it has given me hope. Now I know the potential for next year I'll give my wife a budget and see what she can do. I'm excited because these things can work but you do need a vision and, I guess, a good head for heights.

Related topics Legislation

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