OOTS: Plastic and Trees

A couple of months ago NAH and I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon in Gloucester. We like the colourful canal barges plus the industrial heritage and old buildings found along the wharves. I've already featured the planted walkways by the moored barges as part of my occasional Unusual Front Gardens strand.

We strolled into the nearby indoor shopping centre. How nice, I thought, they're using real trees for their public planting inside. That's not a flowering variety I've seen before.

So I went a little closer to have a good look...and what did I find?

Plastic flowers had been attached to the main branches of the trees. And the 'trees' themselves were really just lumps of wood placed in the planters.

Here you can see how it's been done. Trunks and larger branches have been placed in the planters with smaller branches of plastic flowers bolted onto them :(

It's a shame because only a few hundred yards away there's a commemorative plaque to celebrate the floral canal walkways winning a Gloucester in Bloom's Street Regeneration competition in 2007.

Bristol's Cabot Circus is a similar shopping centre where they've managed to keep their trees completely real. So why didn't they do the same in Gloucester?

You can find more examples of our public planting - good and bad - under the Out on the Streets (aka OOTS) label.


  1. Seeing how the place faked those trees would put a damper on my enjoyment of any of it!

  2. All that effort to produce some ghastly artificial plant. Why do they bother.

  3. Extraordinary - but I quite like the look of it, despite the fakery (Perhaps different if I was there). I wonder what the designers' reasoning was?

  4. How absolutely bizarre??!! Just shows though how much people love greenery/flowers and will do anything to have them - even if they are plastic. Very strange indeed!

    Really enjoying your blog! Found you this morning and have been nicely distracted from work :)
    Anna B

  5. That is the worst piece of street 'dressing' I've seen in a long while - oh dear.....

  6. I would rather nothing than that. I've even seen some home owners putting plastic flowers in the yard. Full blooms in January in Canada, I think not.

  7. Petoskystone - in some ways I wish I'd not gone closer. I was enjoying them up until then.

    EG - I was in Bristol yesterday, enjoying the real trees in Cabot Circus

    Lu - presumably year round interest

    digtheoutside - welcome and thank you :)

    beangenie - Norwich was worse when I was there a couple of years ago :(

  8. sensiblegardening - hello! We have people who do that in the UK too - the ultimate in 'low maintenance gardening' I suppose.

  9. To anyone coming over from Treecare info - hello and welcome!

    No, this isn't a hoax. This is what I saw when visiting Gloucester last year. Whether they're a permanent feature is yet to be seen, but bearing in mind the plastic flowers have been attached to the wood, this suggests that they are, indeed permanent.

    I can't comment on your forum, hence my response here. Comments are closed on this blog post owing to the recent increase in spam attacks on older blog posts.


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