Working closely with Altrincham’s BID team (Altrincham Unlimited) we have begun a programme of greening up the town centre using self-watering planters.
Though expensive to buy and install, they will provide Altrincham with years of service and an all-year-round display. Altrincham Unlimited have so far invested in ten railing planters for the entrances to Altrincham Interchange which have been planted and maintained by Southfield Nurseries with a predominantly red theme to mark Altrincham Festival’s Ruby Anniversary. They are also going to maintain a series of lamp post planters which Altrincham In Bloom are project managing. The first set of 12 are being installed as we go to press and have been funded through the corporate sponsorship of a luxury housing developer, Real Estate Investment Partnerships. They will be on The Downs, Ashley Road, Oxford Road and Lloyd Street. Corporate sponsorship is crucial if we are to achieve our goals of installing planters throughout the town centre. This year we had to buy ready-grown plants (predominantly red again) and bring them on in our newly acquired poly-tunnel. Next year if we can acquire the space and facilities, we would like to start growing from seed.
Since REIP’s sponsorship was announced we have received enquiries from other companies and also a grant from Trafford Partnership for another dozen lamp post planters. These are to be installed along Regent Road and Stamford New Road this Summer. Again, these planters will have to be filled this Summer with nursery-bought plants.
In addition to grants and corporate sponsorship, we have launched a crowdfunding page on JustGiving.com. This is a great way of harnessing online donations as we find that people are not carrying cash around so often these days.
This is our second year on Shaw’s Green. The project is designed to bring together the generations and achieve three main aims:
working with primary school children to teach them about wildlife and growing food
demonstrating to passers-by how easy it is to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs
helping to supply ingredients to a local senior citizens’ lunch club which combats social isolation
To avoid any waste, we have only grown the vegetables and herbs in our 14 x 2 metre allotment-style bed which we know The Vine Lunch Club want. This year we doubled our Rhubarb yield as it is very popular. Everything has been cultivated from seed too. The children from Navigation Primary School’s Eco Team grew our First Early potatoes (Swift) in containers at their school. We harvested them in June. They also sowed seeds for Thyme, Chives, Parsley, Beans, Brussels Sprouts and some Marigolds during our sessions. We sowed our Carrots, Onions, Leeks, Garlic and Second Early Potatoes (Maris Peer) directly into the ground on Shaw’s Green. So far the lunch club has enjoyed Rhubarb, Potatoes and some Chantennay Carrots.
This year, we planted Grape Hyacinth and purple Crocus bulbs to add a bit of colour in the dull days of Spring. We also dug a bed along the end wall to plant fan-trained soft fruit trees and fruit bushes. We concreted in a series of posts with heavy duty wire between them so that the trees will grow sideways and eventually screen off the office building behind. Last year we planted two Apple trees and a Plum in the central grassy area. This year we planted an Apricot, a Pear and a Greengage. We also have Redcurrant, Blackcurrant, Tayberry, Blackberry and Gooseberry bushes.
We have been focussing on Greening Grey Britain for Wildlife this year and Shaw’s Green has benefited significantly with the addition of a Mouse House (sadly just destroyed by building contractors), a very large Bug Hotel and a bird box in the Hawthorn Tree.