Sustainable planting along the seafront and in our parks
All local authorities are facing severe budget constraints. However local authorities are still expected to lead on initiatives aimed at safeguarding and enhancing biodiversity, protecting our environment and reducing adverse impacts on natural systems.
All these factors played a role in our thinking when we considered changing the way we manage our seafront planting.
As a seaside town, Hastings and St Leonards seafront has traditionally been planted up with colourful summer bedding.
Not only is summer bedding expensive, it is short lived and uses a lot of water to maintain the plants in healthy conditions.
In the dry and hot south east, this means using a lot of water.
How we aim to achieve this
Our task was to re-think how we plant up the seafront to reduce costs, reduce dependence on short term bedding, reduce maintenance and provide, if possible, all year interest.
In partnership with our grounds maintenance contractor, Idverde, we came up with proposals for sustainable planting along the seafront.
The basis for this was to use perennial plants that would not only survive year on year, but grow to fill gaps and increase the amount of interest and colour. Further, we focused on more drought tolerant plants to ensure we reduced water dependence.
Results so far
We have not forsaken bedding completely as we have reserved a couple of prominent beds for traditional bedding plants in the summer.
However our principle of sustainable planting has resulted in fuller looking beds with year round interest and reduced our costs and reduced the amount of water we use.
We have had very positive feedback from residents and visitors who appreciate we are trying very hard to reduce our impact on the environment.
As with all sustainable management, this is a long term project.
In partnership with Idverde, we will continue to assess what works and what doesn't. Gapping up areas where plants have failed, and look for other areas where we can expand our ethos of sustainable planting and reduced maintenance.
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