COVID-19

2020 will certainly take its place in history. Along with many other voluntary organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the activities of Wetherby in Bloom. Because of the uncertainty over the situation, a decision was made early in the crisis to curtail the number of hanging baskets in the town. The normal time for hanging the baskets was in June but when the decision was made to scale back dramatically on the number of baskets, it was unclear whether volunteers would be permitted to work in the necessary close proximity to others. The same went for the daily watering commitments. It was all especially difficult as the main core of volunteers for all aspects of the work involved, were considered to be in the more vulnerable age group.

Instead, a reduced number of baskets were put up – the Bridgefoot pergola and along the Shambles. The Shambles baskets had their own watering system and so a much-reduced operation for watering was required over the peak summer months. The tractor went out on a rota a few times a week, under socially-distanced operating conditions. Also, all the planters in the town and the entrance signs, were planted up as usual, along with flower beds planted by private contractors for Wetherby Town Council, so the town still had a large floral presence.

A bonus for the town was when Leeds City Council closed off the Shambles to traffic, allowing pedestrian-only access. This allowed local cafes to put out additional seating and the area developed 'a café culture look' during the periods when the covid restrictions were temporarily lifted.

The opportunity was also taken to renew and replenish around the town, renewing some aging planters and replenishing plants in other areas. Volunteers also eventually continued their work in the Jubilee Gardens and the Riverside car park, following local tier and social distancing regulations. From the comments received the residents appreciated the colour that WIB was able to bring to the town.

2021 – A New Year and planning ahead

We knew that the year would present its challenges and we were prepared to be resilient and meet them as they arose. In horticulture, plans must be laid months in advance as plants must be nurtured over time. After speaking to local traders, there was enthusiasm to give Wetherby its blast of colour with baskets and planters. The year progressed with various government restrictions in place, but eventually in June 2021, over 150 baskets were put up around the town and the planters filled.


Once again we needed to rely on our volunteer watering teams to keep everything going. The town looked magnificent and the baskets produced the best ever display. As they were doing so well, they were kept up longer and were only removed for composting early in October.


Planting for a show of winter colour progressed as normal.


2022

With Wetherby celebrating the Queens Platinum Jubilee Celebrations 2nd – 5th June 2022, we are hoping for another great year! Let us hope that Covid does not rear it's head again!


We are always happy to hear from possible new volunteers to help from June to September on our trusty vehicles.