Godalming is a historic market town in south west Surrey, 30 miles from London. Although the town hasn’t participated in this year’s Britain in Bloom, the council has organised its own ‘Floral Godalming’ event as it is important to residents, visitors and the local economy that floral displays are prominent and well-maintained in public areas.
Godalming council doesn’t employ ground staff and so maintenance is carried out via contract. When looking for a way to reduce the maintenance time and costs spent on tending displays, Godalming Council’s town clerk Andy Jeffery came across Amberol’s self-watering planters in The Clerk magazine. Having carried out some research, Andy felt that these products offered the best solution.
The council now uses Amberol’s Beecham barrier baskets along the roadside safety rails throughout the town’s primary retail area and has hanging baskets located outside the public toilets, around the arches of the old town hall and on brackets on historic buildings where the pavement is not wide enough for troughs and low-level displays.
Dealing with the driest summer for over 40 years
As a result of using Amberol’s products, the number of times that planters are being manually watered has seen a substantial drop – even in the hot, dry summer of 2018 (one of the driest on record). As opposed to watering every day or two, most planters are only topped up every five days, even throughout the long period without rainfall.
Andy comments: “Having chosen 2018 to launch ‘Floral Godalming’ which is what we have called the town centre displays, we have started in probably the hottest summer since 1976. However, we are still only watering the planters every five days and the floral displays are superb.”
The displays have also received praise from the public. For example, one local resident was quoted as saying “It brightens my day to see these magnificent flowers in our town.”
Andy explains: “We have had great positive feedback about our displays to the extent that we had to extend the coverage within the first three weeks of the displays being put out. We have had positive offers of future sponsorship, too.
Godalming Town Council has covered the cost of the first year to showcase the displays and the affect they have had on the town, but the displays will need sponsorship for future years. Fortunately, the sponsorship programme has proved very popular with all slots for 2019 already filled. Despite not taking part in a national competition like Britain in Bloom, Godalming is keen to promote horticulture within the region and has organised its own gardening competition.
“We have a local Godalming in Bloom event run by the Go Godalming association which judges private gardens, allotments, public spaces, commercial properties, pubs, schools etc.” Andy comments. “This year, Godalming Town Council was awarded the prize for Civic Pride.”
The success of the self-watering planters has encouraged the council to consider how the scheme can continue. Andy reports that the council is hoping that the scheme will be extended with the opportunity for more planters and displays: “Following the success of Floral Godalming 2018, it is hoped that the Council will extend the scheme to other areas of the town in 2019; this will be a mix of planters and baskets. We are also looking at the benches and litter bins that Amberol supply.”
With residents happy and the need for watering lowered, Godalming Council is full of praise for Amberol’s products. Andy comments: “We have received a 5-star service from Amberol and have been introduced to a range of products that will help to enhance our town, preserve its economic vibrancy and make it a pleasant place to live.”
Three words that Andy uses to describe Amberol’s products:
Andy would recommend Amberol for a number of other reasons: “Firstly, Amberol’s sales staff don’t over-claim their products. When we discussed what we wanted, and a product was recommended, we were informed fully about the benefits and limitations so that we could make an informed decision. Secondly, the products are extremely well made and robust whilst being attractive and price competitive. Most importantly, the cost-benefit analysis worked: the cost of purchase plus cost of watering every five days as opposed to every one or two days watering in current conditions for other similar products. I wish we had found out about Amberol years ago.”
If you are yet to experience the benefits of Amberol’s self-watering planters, as Godalming Council found out, it’s better to investigate sooner rather than later. Check out the range of styles, sizes and colours here or call us on 0773 830 930 for some friendly, no-obligation advice.