Council trials sustainable perennial planting

Sustainably planted beds at Great Dockray in Penrith

In an effort to make its horticultural practices more environmentally sustainable, Westmorland & Furness Council is moving away from the traditional planting of summer annuals, to a more sustainable perennial planting regime.

Five beds within the areas of Great Dockray and Castle Park in Penrith were recently planted with sustainable perennials, replacing annuals that require renewal, each year.

These changes will increase biodiversity by providing stable habitats for wildlife, whilst reducing the need for maintenance and the reliance on purchased annual plants used in more traditional seasonal displays.

In another sustainable initiative trailed by the Council, spring flowering bulbs - which would usually be removed once flowering has ended - are being left to re-flower the following year. Initial results have been encouraging and could provide considerable financial savings, as well as a more environmentally friendly option for spring flowerbeds.

Cllr Dyan Jones, Westmorland & Furness Council Cabinet Member - Customer and Waste Services, said: “I’m delighted that these two initiatives will not only deliver savings on plant purchase costs and ongoing maintenance, but thanks to the judicious choice of perennial plants, they’ll also provide sustainable, bio-diverse habitats for wildlife, delivering on a key priority for the council - enhancing biodiversity.

“Once established, these beds will provide year round fauna and we hope to extend further planting across the area, year by year.”