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Cove in Bloom undaunted by Covid challenges

Cove in Bloom undaunted by Covid challenges

Assembling, installing and planting up a large tiered container all while observing social distancing.

The demands of social distancing and the restrictions around Covid-19 have certainly made it more difficult for Britain in Bloom groups, businesses and local authorities to maintain the floral displays that are such an important part of our communities, but many have risen imaginatively to the challenge.

Where there’s a will, there is often a way as was recently proven by Cove in Bloom in Aberdeen when they took delivery of a new planter during the national lockdown.
Having ordered a self-watering tiered planter to go outside the local Co-operative supermarket as lockdown was announced in March, it looked as if Cove would have to wait a long time for their planter when the Amberol factory closed to ensure adherence to government guidelines. However, behind the scenes the team at Amberol were working hard to re-start production safely so they could fulfil outstanding customer orders as soon as possible.

Exceeding customer expectations

Wendy Suttar of Cove in Bloom explains: "The Co-op store had chosen Cove in Bloom as a Local Community Fund partner during 2019, raising a sizable amount of money. As part of the scheme, 1% of what local shoppers spend on selected own-branded products and services goes to help fund community projects where they live. As an acknowledgement of their support, we had promised them a tower planter which had been ordered from Amberol during the early weeks of lockdown, on the understanding that manufacture was at a standstill, and was not expected to restart until lockdown was over.”

Having put strict health and safety procedures in place to ensure social distancing was observed, Amberol were able to restart production sooner than expected and Wendy was delighted when their planter was delivered soon afterwards. “It seems that our order was high on the list as we found out that the planter was on its way very soon thereafter!”

The importance of mobility

However, the delivery of the planter posed other problems. Although designed to be moved if required, positioning and planting the tiered container was more challenging than usual due to restrictions around Covid. However, the fact that Amberol’s tiered planters can be taken apart then put back together relatively easily made it possible to relocate the planter with a little bit of help.

Wendy explains: “We spoke about filling the container and planting it at the roadside, but when we asked the Co-op they said that they would like it beside the shop, as originally planned, and that they would water it. So the problem of moving it under lockdown conditions was raised.

"With the help of a couple of volunteers and their husbands, plus much standing back and coming forward one at a time, we were able to dismantle the tower and load it into the trailer to take it down to the Co-op.

"Two of the volunteers rebuilt the planters while the other half of the team collected the soil which had been donated by a Cove resident. Once it was all in place, one of the volunteers took on the final tasks of adding compost and planting the whole thing up, which he did solo to ensure social distancing was observed.”

Enhancing the environment

Once in place, maintenance was taken over by the Co-op team, with the self-watering facility making it much easier to water and care for the plants in the display. The result has been impressive and has brightened up the area around the store. 

"The Co-op staff are doing a grand job of keeping the tower watered, and I can only say well done and thank you to all those who were involved in getting it set up - and to the Cove Co-op staff for looking after it,” Wendy comments. “It is amazing what can be done with a little care and consideration!"

Cove in Bloom maintain the garden beds and planters throughout the area of Cove and Altens. The small group of dedicated volunteers also works with the Cove Woodland Trust to maintain and improve the Cove Community Woodland. Cove has also achieved a Silver Gilt award in the Urban Community category of the Keep Scotland Beautiful competition.

Amberol’s self-watering tiered planters come in a range of styles including octagonal, circular and square precinct planters as well as beehive planters. All tiered planters can be manoeuvred by a minimum of two people when empty or moved using a pallet trolley or forklift truck when planted.

Some of Amberol’s best selling products, tiered planters are often used to create stunning centrepieces in town centres and public spaces.

For more information, call 01773 830 830 or email

First place
In the factory
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