Banbury schoolchildren sorely missed as Planting in the Park is hit by lockdown - but council staff come to the rescue

Banbury Town Council staff came to the rescue in People’s Park last Wednesday by putting their home-grown gardening skills to the test.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:04 pm
Banbury Town Council staff set to work planting out thousands of seedlings for the floral displays in People's Park
Banbury Town Council staff set to work planting out thousands of seedlings for the floral displays in People's Park

More than 7,000 plants delivered for Planting in the Park Day had nowhere to go until staff stepped in.

Planting in the Park is an annual event that sees pupils from the town’s primary schools compete against each other to design and plant the best flower bed.

Around a dozen schools and up to 300 pupils take part each year. Trophies are awarded for overall winners and the best flower bed in a number of categories.

This year, the plants were pre-ordered as usual but the event had to be cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions.

Staff, who are mostly working from home because of Covid-19, answered the call for help and spent a day working shifts to get the plants into the ground. Some did the morning, others did the afternoon and a few put in a couple of hours when their normal work allowed.

Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of the council’s general services committee, said: “The flower beds look fantastic. If office staff and others hadn’t stepped in the flowers beds would have remained empty. Now we have a magnificent display of colour – something that will give park visitors a lot of pleasure.”

“Council staff usually potter about in their own gardens and this mass planting was something very different. They got all the plants in while maintaining social distancing to comply with coronavirus guidelines.”

The plants included begonias, marigolds, petunias, geraniums, gazinnia, salvia and snapdragons and were planted to produce a wheel of rainbow colours around the rose garden.

Twelve members of staff – almost the council’s full workforce – turned out to help.