Wednesday, 8 February 2012

We've read, turned white, and now we've got the blues over plans for "Boston in Bloom"

Sadly, the snow got into BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s works last week and faded Councillor Yvonne Gunter out in mid flow before she’d had time to tell us anything much about the launch of Boston’s bid for “in bloom” status. But it was more than made up for by a feature on the borough council’s website.
We’ve done “Boston in Bloom” before, and this year’s effort is part of the “Britain in Bloom” project run by the Royal Horticultural Society.
The campaign contains two elements: Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood, both aimed at supporting communities to improve their quality of life through gardening – although we have to say that the latter sounds more like a reality TV show than a cunning plan to get us all planting flower beds.
Britain in Bloom is a nationwide competition between communities across a range of categories.
“For many it is a tool for building their community and tackling local issues,” claims the RHS.
Already – as so often is the case – the situation in Boston has started out a little blurred.
Our "bid" for Boston in Bloom was apparently launched when Councillor Gunter brandished a spade along with project partners Niall Armstrong of Boston Business “Improvement” District and Alison Fairman, of Boston Preservation Trust.
But the ceremony was in fact to publicise a fountain to be unveiled in honour of the Queen’s 60-year reign – in a so-called Victorian garden.
We’ve observed before that to mark the jubilee of a Queen named Elizabeth by creating a garden named after another Queen called Victoria, strikes us as unusual to say the least.
Granted, they are the only two monarchs to have reached their diamond jubilees – but it still seems peculiar that we are not marking this year’s event with an imaginatively themed “Elizabethan Garden.”
Whatever the reason, at present it consists of a large number of joists stuck into the ground – and although we’ve looked hither and yon for illustrations of a Victorian garden, we can find nothing that remotely resembles either the plan or the site, which looks more like a stockade. Regular readers will recall the “plan” (pictured right) – apparently drawn on the back of a fag packet, which the Boston Town Area Committee agreed was worth £10,000 of taxpayers’ hard earned cash.
At the centre of it will be a six foot 9 inch tall fountain called Romantica which is pictured below, and which costs around £900. Its key feature is described as its “Mediterranean style.” Not very Victorian – but then it will apparently be known as “the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee fountain”  –  meaning, of course, the present Queen.
If all this is not confusing enough for you – consider the fact that this project involves no fewer than eleven separate organisations – perhaps even more.
The council tells us that the Boston in Bloom campaign is a joint enterprise “principally” involving: Boston Borough Council, Boston BID, Boston Mayflower, Boston Preservation Trust, Boston College, Boston Placecheck, North Sea Camp, South Lincolnshire CVS, Pescod Square, Age UK Boston and South Holland and ASDA.
We think that so many fingers in the pie can only end in tears. There are far too many groups involved – and the danger is either that tasks will not get done, or that they will be overdone.
Boston BID plans to encourage businesses to decorate their premises, in a red, white and blue theme, and the council will follow the same colour theme in its plantings in Central Park and around the borough.  Householders are also being urged to decorate the frontages of their homes with hanging baskets, tubs, troughs and planters, also in red, white and blue  –  for a chance to win cash prizes. As we said at the outset, Boston has played the “in Bloom” game before  – in fact we took a photo  on the right, which shows how one of the displays – and it was not the only one – ended up.
If perhaps there were not enough people involved in the past, we can say with some certainty that there are too many people involved this time around.
Something like this needs a small, highly focussed working group - so that everyone involved knows what’s being planned and being done – and eleven is just too big a number.

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