Out on the Streets: Your Public Planting

It seems my posts about public planting have struck a bit of a chord - thank you for your response thus far. It's led to Lucy and I putting together a joint post recently on the roundabout she spotted in Weymouth; Anna has generously sent me a photo of a veggie planting she saw in France for me to use at a suitable point; and a couple of you (thanks Susan and Catmint) requested an opportunity to throw things open for contributions from anyone. That's great and was something I'd been mulling over for a while. Most of the examples I'm using are taken from my neighbourhood or travels and thus have geographical limitations. This is a subject that touches us all.

So I'd like to announce Out on the Streets, a quarterly look at public planting in your neighbourhood and/or on your travels this year. What you choose to show us is entirely up to you - here's some ideas:
  • Choose a site, perhaps the one closest to where you live and show us how it changes through the seasons. OR perhaps you have something to say about the way plants are used in the public area of an office or another building you visit frequently
  • Write about a community project that's happening in your neighbourhood, maybe one you're involved in yourself
  • The Good the Bad and the Ugly - contrasting examples you see every day or you've noticed on your travels
  • Choose an example near you and find out about the people responsible for designing, building or maintaining it
  • Write about a particular issue or trend you'd like to explore which fits this meme e.g. Britain in Bloom (or another community project), vandalism (and how it can be minimised), vertical gardens, or something else...
  • Anything else that takes your fancy - you may like to have a look at the post I wrote when I introduced my public planting series to see how I'm defining it for my own use this year: it may help you to focus in on a particular topic you'd like to write about

I thought I'd put up a couple of pictures as examples to give you further 'starters for ten'. At the head of this post is a picture I took on the way to the RHS Show last week. London is noted for the lavish planting some landlords use to decorate their pubs. In the summer these are usually eye fryingly bright or use a patriotic colour scheme (red, white and blue), but here you can see a more restrained planting the pub has adopted for its winter wear. Now if I went to London on a regular basis, this might be the kind of shot suitable to show seasonal changes, or to cavalcade the best and/or worst examples.

You don't have to live in an urban area like London to take part in this topic. Lucy has kindly sent me this more rural scene as part of her active search for a suitable example to show on her Pictures Just Pictures blog as we're planning another joint post. The photo shows tree planting recently completed on the Poundbury bypass in Dorset: this happens quite a lot in this country on our bypass roads - lots of trees are planted at much denser rates than they should be on maturity. I'll return to this topic when I get to talk about roadside verges soon.

I've also created a new slideshow for my sidebar to include the public planting photos I've posted thus far; some previously unpublished ones; plus all the photos kindly sent to me by Lucy and Anna. These may give you further inspiration if you decide to join in.

So when do I post? It's up to you. I'm keeping this topic open during the whole of March: my post's due to go up on March 2nd and I'll put in Mr Linky on there for you to add your post's details as and when you do them. I'll also put a photo link up on my sidebar that day like the current Dinner Party one, so you can easily find this topic again. I'll also do a summary post at the end of the month, especially if we uncover some recurrent issues or themes to mull over as a result of your posts. Don't worry if you've nothing to contribute for March as there'll be opportunities to take part in June, September and December.

See you soon, Out on the Streets!


  1. Great idea, VP! I look forward to seeing the responses you get. On the roads I regularly travel, "public planting" is primarily turf grass, so I'll have to enjoy these more inspiring examples vicariously.

  2. This is going to be really good, well done VP. I am a great fan of your pubic planting series. Lucy's pictures will be very good, Weymouth do some lovely roundabout (well they did the last time I visited!), while some of the other towns around just don't do anything. I pass the place where Lucy took that picture twice a day! Though the planting is dense and will need some thinning, the older parts of the by-pass are really lovely in the different seasons. Lucy have you noticed the campers by Weymouth avenue roundabout - on the bank amongst the trees?

    Best wishes Sylvia

  3. We live about 200yds from the busy A46. The house is surrounded by fields. The hedgerow along the road is quite dense and certainly forms a good screen in the summer. We have lived here for almost 17 years and when we moved in the duelling of the A46 was imminent. The compulsory purchase of the stretch of field is almost through and this week they have started grubbing up the hedgerow. So far the trees are still there, but for how long I don't know. I took a couple of photos the other day before they started and obviously will take some of work in progress.

    Extensive planting is planned so it will be interesting to see what this is and when they do it. I shall definitely contribute to your new venture.

    I've not been into town lately to take you pics of our roundabouts but will try to make it soon.

  4. Hi VP and Lucy, we will be on the lookout for a suitable spot to capture. Nothing around my area is worthy, but on the weekly travels to the larger city of Knoxville there might be something of interest. Thanks for setting this up.

  5. Woot! I'm very excited about this. I already know a few spots I want to talk about. I like both the "spot through the seasons" approach and the "best/worst of" idea as well, so I'm going to be on the lookout next week for good photo opportunities.

    I'm traveling this weekend, so I may take my camera along and take pictures that I see in Oklahoma City, as well.

    Thanks for setting this all up, VP!

  6. Excellent idea VP.
    I'm going to send the camera with Himself when he goes across to Rotherham next week - there is a LOVELY roundabout there! How sad does that make me sound?!

  7. I put a couple of photos of a roundabout in a post about a private Florida garden. Would that qualify, or should I make it into a separate post? Not much is growing around here in March, so I'll put in links to the posts I did last summer about bad and good public plantings around here. I love this topic, as it says so much about the community in which the planting exists. I'm really looking forward to it.

  8. Thank you for that marvelous photo of the old pub surrounded by modern. What a hoot! And thank you that when I clicked on it, it filled my computer screen. Yes, I saw the plantings, but I also saw two men in shirt sleeves like a summer day, and then others all in heavy coats and scarves.

  9. That pub's the Albert on Victoria Street. Used to walk past (and drink in) there almost every day for years. Its greatest claim to fame isn't its planting scheme; it's the weird positioning as a Victorian building in the middle of all those modern office blocks. Looks utterly incongruous.

  10. This might be just the time for me to show you our roundabout or a planting that all the tourists see when they do Music City! What fun VP
    and I can see how our tax dollars are or are not working! gail

  11. A most interesting project VP . You have given me the perfect excuse to return to Brittany, where there are marvellous roundabout and verge plantings :)

  12. There's a roundabout in a residential neighborhood near me that has gorgeous plants, but it's not really at its best in winter!

  13. Fantastic idea VP. Now I have a real excuse to post about our outdoor learning center in Kaufman.

  14. HI! New to Blotanical, but in my travels around I found you and would love to participate. Not much in leaf or bloom right now, but next quarter I should have some pictures. Sadly though, my county doesn't go in much for frills like plantings, but the state transportation people (much hated generally) do one nice thing, and that's wildflower planting alongside major highways. Nothing like a wide median planted with a mile of corn poppies to cheer up the morning drive. So -- later pics.

  15. A great idea, VP! I probably won't have anything to post yet in March, but I'll be keeping my eye open for a June post. Last summer I admired some of the plantings here in our town, but I neglected to take any photos then. I'll keep my camera ready this year:)

  16. Sylvia - I didn't notice the campers. It was February 12th when I took the photo so I don't know if this was because they weren't there yet or because I wasn't looking.

    However pleasant the older trees are round there (and they are) I don't think I'd like to set up home by such a main road!

    And the Weymouth Avenue stretch of road . . . onwards towards Weymouth for quite a way . . . I don't know how long you have known it along there but a taxi driver once told me it used to be lined, on either side, by elm trees, until Dutch Elm disease struck - and that was the end of them.


  17. Nan - glad you like it!

    Sylvia - I'm happy for you to add a guest post on anything you find at any time you want :)

    Maggi - thanks, sounds like that's a project worth keeping an eye on. I remember as a child the land was kept derelict at the back of the house 'for the Northfield bypass to be built'. It's only taken them 45 years to get round to doing it!

    Frances - I look forward to seeing what you find in Knoxville!

    Susan - I know that whatever you find will be very interesting :D

    Nutty Gnome - brilliant. I do like this!

    MMD - have added your Florida trip already and looking forward to everything else that comes form your way.

    CurtissAnn - it was quite a mild day hence the variation in workwear. I love the contrast between old and modern - another reason for taking the photo.

    Soilman - well spotted. So I found one of your old haunts eh?

    Gail - that's great!

    Anna - I bet you didn't need an excuse really. I'll be showing your photo properly next week. Thanks for sending it :)

    Monica - you could do before and after photos perhaps?

    Debbi - hurray! I know I'm going to love what you come up with.

    Rosella - welcome! Will check you out soon, I promise :) I'd love to see what you come up with on the wildflower sowing on the roadside. That happens on some of our roadsides too.

    Rose - I look forward to seeing what you come up with in June :)

    Lucy - thanks for everything you've done for our joint post tomorrow.


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