HELEN BURTON: Project to brighten up Pevensey Bay

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
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At the weekend I helped Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham to plant the first of its planters in the Pevensey Bay shopping area.

We installed two big troughs, nearly three metres long, outside Boots and got absolutely drenched in the rain as we planted. Luckily we are a friendly bunch and it was good fun, but the real pay-off was how great they look! We had the planters made to order from FSC wood (the FSC label means it is sourced sustainably following strict environmental, social and economic standards), and the planters were filled with a mixture of topsoil and organic, peat free compost.

The plants we chose were a mixture of herbs, edible plants and bee-friendly plants. All of the planting is perennial so it will not need replacing every year like a lot of village planting schemes, and we chose established plants so they won’t require as much watering. Alpine strawberries were chosen as they are hardier than the usual varieties and not only do they look great but they also produce flowers and fruit. Passers-by will also be able to pick rosemary, thyme and lavender from the tubs and later in the year we will be planting saffron-producing crocus. Imagine being able to stroll along Pevensey Bay High Street and pick your own saffron! There are also two types of campanula in the scheme both of which have beautiful purple flowers which are great for bees, but the leaves are also edible. We also planted two different types of roses – did you know you can eat rose flowers? In many countries roses are grown as herbs and used to season food, it’s amazing how many other common garden plants are edible. Bamboo, hostas, cardoons, columbines, day lillies, sedums and marigolds all have edible parts! There are several reasons for the planting scheme in Pevensey Bay. Firstly, we want to educate people about sustainable gardening methods and show just how many ornamental plants are edible in some way. Secondly, we want to encourage people to plant bee-friendly plants, not only do they look great but they serve a useful purpose too in providing forage for bees. Lastly we want the Pevensey Bay shopping area to look great! We are going to extend the planting scheme in the village to put planters throughout the High Street area and we will be looking for sponsors for them. The first pair were funded by donations and also money raised at the Artist’s Open House event I held at my house in April. Thank you to everyone who bought tea, cake and vegan burgers, and to all the stallholders that set up shop in my front room for the weekend! Within 24 hours of the planters being installed we had two offers of sponsorship without even asking, so hopefully as other sponsors come forward Pevensey Bay will get a lot more colourful! If you would like to find out about sponsoring a planter or get involved with the project you can email incrediblepaw@aol.com