Flower beds along the High Road

A few weeks ago we were mighty upset to see that several of the Chiswick High Road flower beds, which we have been looking after for years, had been cleared by Hounslow Highways through its contractors PGSD.

Hounslow Highways and PGSD are responsible for these beds, and are supposed to prune and mulch a couple of times a year. However, the beds were neglected, and we started working on them in 2014 after despairing about their lack of planting, which was alleviated at that time only by increasing amounts of bindweed and goosegrass.

In recent years we have boasted about our drifts of spring daffodils, forget-me-nots, tulips, alliums and – most recently – our hollyhocks.

We were therefore singularly unimpressed (to put it mildly!) two weeks ago to find one bed cleared to bare earth, and a couple of others more tentatively tidied. It was as though a gradual realisation was dawning on the new gardeners that ‘here be hollyhocks.’

We asked for a meeting with Hounslow Highways and had what is known as a free and frank discussion, with an exchange of compliments on the merits of guerrilla gardening vs 25-year PFI contracts that don’t allow for replacement planting.

Both sides then settled on an honourable solution, namely that PGSD  and Hounslow Highways would replant the flower beds with lavender, bergenia and grasses, and look after them properly. Abundance will stand admiringly on the sidelines, count the bees on the lavender and crack on with doing the big mural at Turnham Green, harvesting mulberries and damsons, and gardening various other little patches around Chiswick.

Hounslow Highways told us not to plant yuccas in tree pits (we haven’t and we wouldn’t but others do!) and generally to avoid planting in tree pits with young trees, or blocking traffic sightlines. We promised to take this on board, and also to try and spread the word.

We were extremely excited today to see that they were as good as their word, and that the beds have now been planted up and look very fine.

We would like to thank Hounslow Highways and PGSD, and look forward to the new partnership between contractor and community group.

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