Waterford Cultural Quarter was a “hive” of activity yesterday with the launch of City in Bloom 2018 with over 50 businesses based in the Cultural Quarter taking part in this city wide initiative.
“Start looking up and listen!” Was the message, on Thursday morning, at the launch of Waterford Business Group’s (WBG) annual City In Bloom (CIB). The 2018 launch took place in Garter Lane Arts Centre, which will be a focal point of Waterford’s new Cultural Quarter.
Now in the fifth year, City In Bloom has grown from the proverbial small seeds, to becoming a significant annual project for Waterford City. The early displays accounted for around 40 baskets and boxes. WBG report that the figure is now in the hundreds, with an ever increasing demand each year. In fact the myriad of hanging baskets and window boxes, over the last few years, have contributed directly to increased points in the annual Tidy Towns competition. In particular, with special mention being given to the last two judging cycles.
2018 will see over 450 floral displays sprouting up around the City Centre and further afield. Ferrybank, Ballinakill Shopping Centre, Ballybricken and the new Cultural Quarter, centred around O’Connell Street, are all now an integral part CIB. Additional support is given by the likes of Waterford Train Station and the Port of Waterford.
This year’s Special Addition
This year will see the very special addition of specific pollinator friendly flowers or “Bee friendly” as Michael Garland, Chair of WBG, likes to insist they are called. “Last year it was mentioned by Ray Moloney, Waterford Council, that at a local authority event/gathering the success of CIB was used, as an example of how a collaborative approach to a project worked brilliantly well. However, it was pointed out the perhaps the types of flowers used were not “Bee friendly”, stated Michael Garland. “We, the WBG, immediate decided that in 2018 we could remedy this, by adding specific pollinator attracting flowers. So, the displays will have a combination of Verbena and Bidens blooms. Those green fingered amongst us, know that both of these plants are very attractive to butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. The addition of such plants will continue in future years. We may even be the first city or town in Ireland, to make a conscious effort to help the pollination process. Another FIRST for Waterford.”
There are over 130 businesses are taking part in the project for 2018. The WBG have entered into an agreement, with Waterford Council, to run and administer the project until 2024. The value of the project will be worth circa €300,000 by the end of the 10 year cycle. It is hoped that every single business will eventually get involved and that the City will be synonymous with Summer blooms, in years ahead.
George Kehoe of Occasions The Quay, WBG Project Coordinator, commented “Annually we go out to businesses, to judge the support for the coming Summer. This year we have added another 100 new baskets and if truth be told, we could have added many more. But we have to have a deadline for expressions of interest, otherwise we can’t order new baskets, make new brackets and get the displays planted and started growing on time. If any businesses are interested to be part of 2019 and beyond, we’d ask that you get in touch ASAP, to avoid disappointment.”
“WBG are delighted that Seamus Reynolds and the Morris’s DIY Team are back on board sponsoring this initiative. The CIB bloom project is supported by a grant from Waterford Council, the many businesses who purchase the flowers and the volunteer body that is the Waterford Business Group. Whitfield Bedding Nursery, through Catherine Nolan, grow, plant, nurture, feed, water and maintain the displays throughout the whole Summer months.
“This truly is a unique local project that is nothing short of Blooming Marvellous”, according to Michael Garland of WBG.
Photo Credit: Noel Browne