Brierley Town (it’s a bloody village!) Council paid about £5k for hanging baskets. Five thousand pounds: that’s about $10000 in pretend money. Six thousand pounds on hanging baskets. The proof is here on or about page 7. OK, admittedly £2k went to Cudworth but still that left about £3k for Brierley, Grimethorpe and various other outlying villages in the area.
So, one would think that Brierley, Grimethorpe and the other various outlying villages would be abloom in vibrant floral colours. One would think. But one would be wrong. It is now September. With the incoming frosts and snaps cold enough to chill rhubarb I would suspect that hanging basket season was over and I should now be observing sorry brown withered baskets of decaying vegetation in Brierley, Grimethorpe and the various outlying villages.
Well my eyes must be bollocks because in the period since March 2007 to the present day I gave counted approximately 8 hanging baskets. 3 of which appear to be close to the ex town councillors house. So if those 8 are the only baskets in the whole of North East Ward, that would work out at £375 per hanging basket.
What sort of plants would you expect in a hanging basket of £375? Rare African fritilleri? Exotic Norwegian stinkwart? Lush fronds of cascading Mexican Variegated orchids? Surely? No! For it seems commonly available fuchsia, Impatiens and Marigolds are the chaps you would expect to see.
Maybe it’s the baskets? Surely you’d expect your £375 hanging basket to be at least 30 inches in diameter. Surely you would be wrong. They’re no bigger than 14 inches at a push. Though I might be wrong, I’m not all that good at judging length. Of course there is the matter of compost, sphagnum moss, bracket maintenance etc etc.
Well the brackets have been up for at least two years so unless they were cheap and nasty non-council issue ones they should last for a while. They certainly look sturdy enough. I should mention that although there were only 8 baskets the evidence of previously existing hanging brackets is..er..evident. Even outside Gnomepants Cottage, one could see the hanging basket bracket on the lamp post before it got replaced.
What about the compost? Compost costs next to nothing. The council have a composting depot thing. The plants? I’m sure Parks and Gardens get them bulk on the cheap. So what is it that costs £375 to make a hanging basket? Ok maybe I haven’t seen them all…but still!
I’m thinking about bringing it up at the next Area Forum Meeting.