Business owners in Denbigh have set their hearts on ambitious ‘growth’ plans – embarking on a new fundraising project to bring the town centre back into full bloom.
The strong-willed retailers are determined to revive Denbigh’s blooming heritage by returning flower-filled barrier baskets to the high street and sewing wildflowers on town’s roundabouts.
The team, which founded the Denbigh in Bloom working group, has already won the backing of 18 local businesses and community organisations who’ve agreed to sponsor a barrier basket for a year while local schoolchildren and nursing home residents are donating their time to grow annual bedding from seed.
The group, which is being supported by Denbigh Town Council, is working with the Denbigh Plum Group and there are plans to plant the town’s native plums within wildflower meadows.
There will be a mass planting of the High Street baskets and planters with volunteers at the Town Hall on May 31.
Lyndsey Tasker, who owns Carpet Emporium in Denbigh High Street and is chair of Denbigh in Bloom, said: “We’re doing all this for Denbigh and for the local community; it’s not about any one of our businesses.
“Obviously with the funding cuts from government, councils no longer have the budgets available for the flower baskets and as we’ve found it is very costly.
“It’s really a community project for Denbigh. It’s to give everyone a sense of pride about where they live and we think it will encourage people to take more care over their town. They might not be inclined to accept litter, for example.
“We want an appealing town. There’s so much history in Denbigh. It’s a medieval town and we have 255 listed buildings and the town walls date back to 1280 in some parts.
“The volunteer history tours are free and start at the library at 10.30am on Saturdays and Sundays.”
The working group, which comprises local businesses and and representatives from the Town Council, was formed last autumn after concerns were raised by members of the Denbigh Business Group about the lack of flowers in the town.
It applied for grant funding from a town improvement scheme and was awarded £1,500 which covered the cost of the initial compost, planters, seeds and public liability insurance.
“We soon realised the costs were a lot higher than we initially anticipated,” said Lyndsey, who opened her business in March 2015.
“We had to think on our feet and so we offered an annual sponsorship scheme to businesses for £100 for a barrier basket. This includes all maintenance and planting for a year.
“We’ve secured sponsorship for 18 barrier baskets and four floor-standing planters. Going forward, the GreenThumb lawn care company has agreed to sponsor two planters.
Denbighshire County Council has also offered the working group four standing planters on loan and has agreed for re-planting to take place on two roundabouts in the town.
A local gardener has been hired to undertake the work and thanks to another donation by GreenThumb, based in St Asaph, between 6,000 and 8,000 spring wildlife-friendly bulbs will be planted on the raised beds later in the year.
GreenThumb founder Stephen Waring said: “Since GreenThumb’s is about beautifying householders lawns, I am very happy to support the beautifying of Denbigh in this way.
“Many of us at GreenThumb spend a great deal of time in an around Denbigh and we are delighted to support this project and wish it every success in the future.”
Lyndsey, 39, who lives in Trefnant, added: “We’re expecting a few blooms this year but next year the wildflowers will really take off and we’ll also have the spring flowering bulbs.”
“There are active groups trying to make Denbigh a safer and nicer place to live. We’re going to keep on going.”
Lottie Costello, secretary of the working group, opened Costello Floral Design in the High Street in July last year.
“There’s a lot of investment going on in the town at the moment,” said the 47-year-old, who lives in Caerwys.
“There are lots of independent shops and businesses opening. People are more likely to stay longer in the town if the area looks nice.
“Denbigh has a really rich heritage. There are more listed buildings here than anywhere else in North Wales. If we are encouraging parents to send their children to school here then we need to make sure the area is nice enough for them to want to stay in the town.
“We have a lot of experts in the group and we’ve all pitched in with the design. Personally, I think it’s important we encourage more wildflowers in the town. There are lots of studies elsewhere suggesting wildflower plantations can reduce antisocial behaviour and litter. Wildflowers have very little maintenance needs, they encourage bees and wildlife.
“It gives people a sense of pride for their home town.”
And the future certainly looks colourful for Denbigh in Bloom. There are plans to work with the County Council to identify further areas of unused grass that can be transformed into meadows of wildflowers, potential to create ‘living walls’ within the town on the buildings that are not listed or affected by conservation restrictions and the possibility of establishing ‘edible gardens’ within the parameters of the town.
In addition, the working group hopes to be in a position to enter the RHS’s Britain In Bloom competition as early as next year if it secures enough funding.
“We’re all determined to make Denbigh a beautiful town to visit,” said Lyndsey.
“The plan is to expand year after year. When people see how well the town looks this year then we expect more businesses to come on-board.”