Empty flower beds: This is what Harrogate council says about criticism during Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Harrogate Borough Council has hit back in the row over flower beds, saying they were left empty to ensure they survived to help make Harrogate look at its best for the whole summer.

By Graham Chalmers
Monday, 6th June 2022, 10:53 am
Updated Monday, 6th June 2022, 10:55 am

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said its parks department faced a dilemma when deciding how best to mark the four days of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations with a choice between opting for special Jubilee planting or looking ahead to the summer weeks to come.

“Summer bedding is planted each year from June," said Harrogate Borough Council, "this is to ensure the frost has passed and we get the best opportunity to provide fantastic colour throughout the summer months.

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There was some disappointment that the flower beds running along West Park from Hotel du Vin to The Yorkshire Hotel (and the top of Montpellier) in Harrogate were devoid of flowers during the Platinum Jubilee.

“It takes around a month to plant the whole of the district’s flower beds so we intentionally left some of the flower beds in Harrogate town centre empty to ensure they weren’t damaged by the expected numbers of revellers for the Platinum Jubilee and to give them the best chance of flourishing over the next few months."

While the consensus was that the programme of royal events and festivities put on at West Park Stray and Valley Gardens in a joint effort by Harrogate Borough Council, Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID) and local community groups was a big success, there was some disappointment that the neatly trimmed flower beds running along West Park from Hotel du Vin to The Yorkshire Hotel (and the top of Montpellier) were entirely devoid of flowers.

Shocked Harrogate Lib Dem leader Coun Pat Marsh even went as far as to say that said she regarded the whole thing as a missed opportunity to show off Harrogate's "horticultural excellence to visitors at an unprecedented moment in British history.

But the spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said there were practical difficulties no matter what it did and this was a situation shared by many other places during the Platinum Jubilee.

The council's aim is now to plant the remaining empty beds with lovely flowers for the whole summer.

“We could have planted the beds early but there was a chance that with the unpredictable weather the flowers would not have lasted the whole season when visitors come to see them in all their glory – a dilemma also faced by the Royal Parks team having had discussions with them," said the council spokesperson.

“Instead, areas such as the Cenotaph, the Crown roundabout, Valley Gardens and barrier baskets, for example, were planted first; many, still yet to flower fully, and the whole town was complimented with around 5,000m of bunting.

“The remaining flower beds will now be planted with summer bedding plants – such as geraniums, petunias and begonias – to show-off the floral array that we are so famous for and ensure the Harrogate district is looking its best for the summer season.”