Flower firm backs Titchmarsh hanging basket plea

The managing director of a Derbyshire floral feature supplier has backed comments from celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh after he said that hanging baskets have a host of valuable health benefits for communities.

Mark Stone, who runs Plantscape said Titchmarsh "hit the nail on the head" when he spoke out in defence of flower displays in a magazine column criticising councils for cutting funding for them.


Writing in Gardener’s World magazine, Titchmarsh fired a broadside at councils which cut the funding for floral displays, including Bradford Metropolitan District Council, which trimmed its flower displays by 80 per cent this year.


He said that flower displays were "a soft touch" when thinking of making cuts, but that instead of being frivolous they had a host of benefits in terms of health, education and cutting crime.


Instead, he said, councils should look at cutting bureaucracy instead.


Titchmarsh added: "Flower beds and hanging baskets, bloom-laden troughs and flower-filled roundabouts planted up with spring and summer bedding offer a respite from the tawdry vision of metropolitan life. They lift our spirits, they are a reminder of the changing seasons that so often merge seamlessly into one another in grey, built-up areas devoid of greenery.


"Ask any local authority to name their top three priorities and you can be sure that with unvarying regularity they will quote: health, education, law and order. 


What do flower beds have to do with that? Everything, I would maintain. Of course hospitals, schools and policing are of prime importance, but when – thanks to the presence of plants and flowers – towns and cities become more pleasant places to live in, then all three of those top priorities benefit."


Our health benefits because flowers make us feel good, he added, displays are educational because they allow children to understand the natural world and attractive green spaces offer people places where they can unwind, reducing the pent-up irritation that can cause unhappiness and unrest.


Plantscape is a supplier of floral features to local councils and other businesses and this year delivered more than 12,000 individual planters, including hanging baskets and giant six-tier planters measuring up to six feet tall.


Stone said: "Alan Titchmarsh is someone who has consistently championed the cause of using horticulture to transform people’s lives, whether by enjoying gardening or by enjoying the fruits of gardening.


"His comments on floral features hit the nail on the head. Every year we receive feedback from customers saying that their residents and visitors reported feeling better and more positive about their surroundings, which helps create a feel-good factor and also attracts people to their local high street.


"We understand that budgets have to be balanced, but those councils and organisations which are able to find some funding for a few hanging baskets or barrier baskets will go a long way to fostering a sense of local pride and could even make people feel healthier and happier too."

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