Fears have been raised over the future of the Harrogate district’s floral reputation.
Bilton Conservation Group, which has enjoyed a good relationship with Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks Department for at least 30 years, says it is worried news that the council’s plant and flowers nurseries on Harlow Hill is going to be sold could spell the end of a golden floral era.
Keith Wilkinson, the group’s honorary secretary, said: “We have liaised with their nurseries every autumn to pick up the park department’s annual donation of bulbs.
“We are only one of many groups and parish councils who are supported in this way by the council.
“Whether or in what form that major bulb and seed planting scheme will continue from 2017 onwards remains to be seen.
“Will it all be outsourced in future?”
Located in an area of town increasingly seen as ripe for housing development, Harrogate Borough Council is to sell the land used by the nursery in Nursery Lane East, Harlow Hill, though it may be moved to a new location on Claro Road.
Keith Wilkinson said the council and the nurseries had played a pivotal role in both Harrogate In Bloom the town’s success in winning the coveted Gold Award in this year’s Britain in Bloom competition.
Any deterioration in the nurseries’ contribution would affect the work of groups involved such as Pinewoods Conservation Group, Friends of the Valley Gardens, Harrogate District Bio-diversity Action Group, Rossett Nature Reserve and Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
In total it is estimated that Bilton Conservation Group alone has planted in excess of 4,000 crocuses, 30,000 daffodils and 3,000 snowdrops and countless wildflower seeds in Harrogate over the years.