09:00AM, Friday 07 August 2020
A stretch of Boulters Lock has been transformed thanks to some green-fingered members of Boulters Riverside Community Interest Company (CIC).
The group was established in 2016 and carries out community projects in the area. Its most recent project has been the overhaul of three very neglected flower beds.
Paul Foll believes Boulter’s Lock is the ‘jewel in the crown of Maidenhead’ but says the flower beds lining the lock, measuring 34 to 40 metres in length, were spoiling the overall appearance.
“If that’s the very best part of Maidenhead, surely the least we can do is make it look attractive for people who come – and they come in their hundreds – to sit by the lock on a sunny day,” he said.
Although there was some confusion as to who was responsible for the beds, it transpired that two were owned by the council and the one by the lock was owned by the Environment Agency.
Riverside CIC chairman Mick Jarvis obtained permission from the relevant authorities for the beds to be cleared by the group and work began in December.
Paul, his wife Lyn, Mick and his wife Ann, as well as Tony and Cathie Lodge and Stephen Smart, initially spent three or four weekends pulling out the deep-rooted bramble bushes and self-sown trees.
Paul said: “It turned out to be an incredible exercise to just dig it out, and the trouble was I wanted it to look good fairly quickly.”
Keen gardener and conservationist Paul decided to tend the flower beds on a ‘rolling basis’ – ‘taking old stuff out and
putting new plants in’.
Since lockdown Paul and Lyn, both National Trust volunteers, have been tending the flower beds between 6.30-7.30am three or four times a week.
Bursting with perennial flowers they are a haven for bees and butterflies.
“It has made me feel like a real member of the riverside community,” he said. “It’s been a privilege to do something that lots of people have been so nice about.”
Paul said he has been offered plants and money by passers-by while gardening, but only ever accepted one plant – the rest have been provided by him, Lyn, Cathy and Stephen.
Another element of the project was cutting back ivy which was choking trees and clearing it from the pavement, work which was carried out by Mick and Ann.
Mick said: “It’s been a good community project, it was something that the CIC was formed to try and help do, we’ve had nothing but compliments from people walking past.
“I hope that everybody who comes to the Riverside enjoys what we’ve done.”
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