Otley in BloomOIB_BIBloom_LOGO.jpg

Growing civic pride in Otley

Window Dressing Competition Results

Posted by sstanwell on July 28, 2017

Large Window

1st:   Casa Vitae


2nd:   Patisserie Viennoise

3rd:   Jenni's Dresser

Highly commended:   Picture This

Small Window

1st:   Leafy Couture



2nd equal:   The Donkey Sanctuary

2nd equal:   PDSA

Highly commended:   Flowers by Lynn


Congratulations to all our winners.

Other entries were Harriets and Soft Options in the large window category, and Wharfedale Embroidery and Oxfam in the small window category.


Britain in Bloom Judges are coming

Posted by billa on July 20, 2017



We need you to help us prepare…
Sunday 30th July at 10 am, meet at the Buttercross for a pre Britain in Bloom judging litterpick, deadheading planters and weeding.
Tuesday 1st August at 6.30pm, meet at the Buttercross for a pre judging litterpick, deadheading planters and weeding.
BUSINESSES – Please sweep and weed in front of your premises.
Everyone remember to water your plants and try to make our town look as lovely as it can on 2nd August.
Thank you!
Award ceremony on 27th October.

Bremner Street corner

Posted by sstanwell on July 19, 2017

Bremner Street corner got a tidy this week.


Eleven people (must be a record) turned out on Sunday morning to help tidy up the garden at Bremner Street, opposite Asda.  We litter picked, pruned, weeded, and added a few colourful plants to the front to cheer up passing motorists.

Loneliness of the short distance litter picker

Posted by billa on July 19, 2017


Sometimes I pick litter with other people but every week I pick upper Bradford road on my own. I only pick 20 litres of rubbish so sometimes I get as far as the bus stop (200 metres) and sometimes I get as far as beyond the golf course (400 metres), but I only get as far as the golf course once or twice a year.


This pick got me to the railway bridge. Luckily no nappies, but the usual mix of 10 plastic bottles, 2 glass bottles, 8 cans, 8 polystyrene fast food boxes, 5 takeaway coffee cups, 3 bits of car, 6 cigarette packets, 1 sock etc.


25 June, I had to leave the large piece of steel, the large sheet of wood and the sandbag, maybe another day.


A week later, 1st July:

Good news, Leeds council swept the road this week so should be less to pick up.  Still the piece of steel and wood went before the sweeper turned up.


Ah well.

8th of July:

Well would you believe it I managed to get to the golf course this week, yeeha.



15th July, well after I managed to pick up two 10kg steel rollers and take them to recycling centre, just dumped in the street.  I found only a limited amount of litter but many many little bits of plastic.  The good news I managed to get beyond the golf course and link up with the part of Bradford road that Leeds council litter picks.  Wow!

Interesting to see what happens next week...


23rd July, for I change I decided to litter pick south into "Menston in Bloom" territory because this no-mans land can become over looked.  More countryside than town, improved fencing is controlling litter but also traps litter.  Still a chance to get a lot of plastic bottle out of wire/hedges.

Where does all the broken glass come from?  Next time take a brush and pan.


30 July; well it finally stopped raining, chance to nip out and clear up.  Sad to see that Mr Coke had managed to put so many plastic bottles along my path.  Since we are in a holiday season you might like to click on on Coke choking the sea .  Still I managed to fill the box and again got to the start of the Golf course. Yipee...

Otley looking really tidy, thanks to everyone who is making an effort, it really shows.




5th August.  Down to the golf course again.  Must be because the people of Otley are making such an effort.  A couple of people thanked me for picking litter, always nice, thanks. 

Just started counting how many pieces of plastic I throw away everyday, frightening figures, I average 4 pieces.  How many do you?


19th August; litter levels well down this fortnight, maybe due to less traffic on the roads in the holidays?  I tried to clear up the litter into Menston and down to the golf club.  It would be nice to tidy up the north side of Bradford road but since there is no pavement it is too dangerous.

A few more broken bottles about, why do people smash them?



More litter picking

Posted by sstanwell on July 18, 2017


Ernie and Ian



Bradley and Grandad John


We do have female litter pickers too, but so far they haven't provided us with a photo.  More pictures to follow...

Open gardens in Otley

Posted by sstanwell on June 21, 2017

Celebrate the joy of gardening by visiting a selection of private gardens in Otley which will be open on Sunday 25th June from 12 noon to 5pm.  Get inspiration, or simply soak up the atmosphere of being in a beautiful space.  Cream teas will be available in two of the gardens.  A map of the gardens will be provided.

Tickets are now on sale, £3 per person or £5 for a family ticket.

- purchase in advance from Courtyard Planters, 9 Westgate, Otley, LS21 3AT  Tel 01943 462390

- purchase in advance online at www.shopappy.com

- purchase on the day at Newlands, 131a Bradford Road, or Park House, Wharfemeadows Park, Farnley Lane.

All money raised will be split between Friends of Otley Lido and Otley in Bloom.


Here's a sneak preview of one of the gardens to whet your appetite.



Timayane Day at Prince Henry's

Posted by sstanwell on June 20, 2017

Pupils from Prince Henry's School spent Timayane Day working for Otley in Bloom.  Here they are planting up up the lamppost planters, which will be displayed around Otley.


They braved some wet and windy weather to plant up the big new three-tiered planter which replaces the tubs on Kirkgate.



They planted up the square wooden planters in Orchardgate.



And they weeded and tidied up at Gasworks Corner, the Community Garden in Cambridge Street.


Many thanks for all your help, all of you, and hope you enjoyed your day.

Ellar Ghyll Recycling getting ready for summer

Posted by billa on May 27, 2017


Ellar Ghyll Recycling centre has started to plant-up for the summer. All the containers and the decorations are recycled from within the facility. Looking forward to see how the plants develop.


Now at the end of June the display is beginning to shine despite the recent watering



Mid July, all looking pretty despite the rain.




Nectar bed Poppies

Posted by sstanwell on May 20, 2017


The poppies at the nectar bed in Wharfemeadows Park looking good in mid May.

Margaret and Jacquie after doing some work on the bed.



Otley to represent Yorkshire in Britain in Bloom

Posted by sstanwell on March 01, 2017

Since 2000 Otley in Bloom have been enhancing green spaces around Otley and coordinating our entry into the Yorkshire in Bloom competition.  For the last 3 years the town has been awarded Gold and Best in Category.

This continued success has caught the eye of the Britain in Bloom organisation and Otley has been invited to enter the prestigious competition joining the likes of Harrogate, Filey and Kippax who have all represented Yorkshire in the past.  Being chosen to enter the competition already marks us out as one of the best cared for communities in the country and the publicity from the competition will allow us to increase trade, tourism and wellbeing for residents.

Katie Burnett, Secretary of Otley in Bloom, said “It is a really special opportunity to showcase our fabulous town and build on the national recognition the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire have brought.  I’ve been involved with OIB since 2005 and firmly believe that attractive green spaces and floral displays have a positive impact on everyone’s health and wellbeing.”

Judges from the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom campaign will be assessing the town’s

  • Horticultural Achievement
  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Community Participation

The Otley in Bloom team will coordinate the town’s competition entry by creating a route to take the judges on which shows some of the highlights of our green spaces.  David Bellerby, Competition Coordinator explained the benefits of the competition for Otley, “It has taken us 16 years to prove we have the right balance of horticultural projects to be worthy of a place in the Britain in Bloom competition, the feeling for us is that of a footballer chosen for the national squad for the first time.  We can expect great coverage in the national and local press, and we hope that lots of residents and businesses will support us this year in going the extra mile to make our town shine.  Having great green spaces is important in creating a sense of pride and community, helping people get enough physical exercise and supporting wildlife and biodiversity.  The floral displays in the town centre are important for the businesses in creating an atmosphere that draws potential customers into the town, encouraging them to linger and spend money that then gets recirculated around the local economy.”

Otley in Bloom’s campaign for Britain in Bloom glory starts here and your help is vital.

Get involved now….

  • Be part of our fundraising “Open Gardens” event on June 25th, either by opening your garden to visitors or spending a pleasant afternoon visiting Otley’s private gardens.
  • Join our team of volunteers – help with gardening, administration, litter picking, social media, and watering plants is needed.
  • Ensure that your premises at home and work look their best this summer and don’t forget to keep dead heading and watering as it is easy for summer displays to “go over” in a hot summer.

To get in touch, register your garden for the Open Gardens, or to come to our next meeting call Katie Burnett 01943 462390

The Otley Phlox

Posted by sstanwell on February 28, 2017

The Story of the Otley Phlox

Fred M. Simpson was born in 1879 to an Otley ironmonger, through his working life he was a plumber in Harrogate, a farmer in Canada, and then a poultry breeder in Otley.  His passion for horticulture only began in his 50s when ill health forced him into a most productive retirement.  He used his skills in cross breeding to breed new strains of Korean chrysanthemums, lupins, Michaelmas daisies, and finally in his 70s perennial phlox.

In 2014, Otley in Bloom heard about this pioneering horticulturalist and wanted to bring his plants back to Otley.  An ongoing search has so far not revealed any known examples of his chrysanthemums, lupins and Michaelmas daisies, but this year we will be planting in Wharfemeadows Park examples of five perennial phlox varieties bred by Fred M Simpson in the 1950s.

Mr Simpson bred the phlox to be more compact and bushy than other available varieties.  The guiding principle of his work is described as “a search for perfection, a discontent with things as they are, a feeling that however good a plant of his creation might be it could be made better.  ‘I’ve got a good thing here but I must try to improve it’ has been his personal motto.  And his criterion has been his personal sense of beauty, that subtle appreciation of colour and form which he shared with his artistic sisters – ‘If it doesn’t suit me out it goes out onto the muck heap’”*

*extract from West Riding Farming Personalities article from Otley Museum


Fred Simpson in 1955 on his 76th birthday showcasing Phlox “Lady Mowbray”

With grateful thanks to Otley Museum and Jane Britten.

The plants have been propagated by Courtyard Planters who have donated plants to Leeds City Council Parks in Otley and to the National Collection at Temple Newsam.  If you would like to purchase an Otley phlox, they are available from Courtyard Planters, with 50p from the sale of each plant coming to Otley in Bloom to support more horticultural projects.  www.courtyardplanters.co.uk


  Otley Choice



If you are able to report any known examples of other plants bred by Fred M Simpson, we would be delighted to hear from you.


Litter Heroes Wanted

Posted by sstanwell on February 28, 2017

Otley in Bloom members will be taking part in the national Great British Spring Clean to get half a million people out and about cleaning up their local communities in March 2017.

Friday 3rd March at 11am - The campaign will be launched by the Town Mayor Cllr Ian jackson and Keep Britain Tidy's Tidyman at the Maypole, Manchester Square, followed by a town centre litterpick and refreshments for volunteers at the Council's Orchard Gate offices at 1pm.

Saturday 4th March at 10am - Cllr Linda Hoare will lead another litter pick, starting at the Maypole in Manchester Square.

Sunday 5th March at 10am to 12noon - Cllr Ray Georgeson will lead a family session at Gallows Hill nature reserve - meet at the car park.

Volunteers are asked to email admin(at)otleytowncouncil.gov.uk or call into the Council's office in Orchard Gate to confirm they'd like to take part. Litter-pickers will be provided, but please bring your own gloves.  Only people pre-registering will be allowed to participate to control numbers and ensure health and safety.