A step in the right direction to brightening up the Perry Vale side of the railway has been our installation of towers of recycled tyres for planters. The next step will see London Overground Rail Operations Limited (LOROL) cleaning and smartening up their perimeter wall — although this work has been delayed due to the repairs to a collapsed sewer.
Meanwhile, the recycled tyre towers have been greeted with many approving comments. Cllr Susan Wise gained permission from Lewisham Council for the installation. James of Aeroarts worked with Rockbourne Youth Club to spray-paint the tyres (donated by A.A. Tyres & Wheels of Stanstead Road), and Forest Hill Society volunteers filled them with plants just as one of July’s torrential downpours began. So the planters had a really good initial watering and the staff of the All Inn One pub have taken over watering duty (when access is possible).
Bringing colourful plants to the town centre as a way to brighten our environment, while at the same time encouraging bees, insects and other wild life to flourish, is very rewarding at many levels. The constant care and attention of a dedicated few has resulted in the Forest Hill Society being able to enter the RHS’s In Bloom “It’s Your Neighbourhood” competition for the fifth year — having been awarded “Outstanding” for three successive years. At the time of writing we haven’t heard this year’s results which will be announced on 21st September. This year the judge was impressed by the work that has been done to brighten the station area and the street corners — he even took photographs of the tyre towers! He also liked the idea that some local businesses have adopted nearby planters and are taking care of them, and that some of our Edible High Road trees are in their second year and continue to flourish.
LOROL also has a competition for various categories in their Best Station award for which we have also entered — again the results have yet to be announced.
LOROL and the Forest Hill Ward Assembly have contributed towards the cost of renewing our planters and the Horniman Gardens has donated spare plants, while we have endeavoured to plant species which are self-seeding, environmentally friendly and require minimal maintenance. This has not always worked, partly because of the extremes of weather, but also because for some bizarre reason people continue to use the planters as rubbish bins. Tipping paint on lavender is not conducive to growth!
To continue this work we need active volunteers. If you would like to join us in tidying up the planters, general pruning, cutting back the aromatic lavender and planting bulbs for Spring flowering in the tyre stacks, we will be organising an afternoon for doing just this on Saturday, October 15th, meeting at the station forecourt at 2:30pm. Not suitable for children because of the passing traffic; protective gloves, secateurs or scissors, a trowel and a spare plastic bag would be useful. If you have none of these items, just come along anyway and enjoy being creative in our town centre to help those awards continue.