A pretty market town, which has won silver in the Wales In Bloom contest two years running, is enjoying an unexpected bonus as a result of planting all year round flowers in its main square.
Ross Morgan, town clerk of Llanrwst in Conwy, says transforming the look of the square with help from the UK’s largest supplier of hanging baskets and planters, Plantscape, has had the knock-on benefit of transforming the behaviour of some residents and visitors.
The square was the scene of a vandalism and littering incident a while ago, but since the floral facelift there has been a renewed pride in the town, he explained.
Not only was Llanrwst presented with the silver award in the last two Wales in Bloom contests, this summer it will be hosting the National Eisteddfod. So the town’s blooms will gain even more praise than they have since Plantscape was brought in to help add extra colour to the town centre in 2016.
In fact, the blooms have attracted so many positive comments that with this year Llanrwst has asked the civic floral display specialists to extend the scheme to other parts of the town and one of its two railway stations.
Ross explained: “We will continue to extend our displays throughout the town and are currently contemplating the creation of a memorial garden at the town’s War Memorial.”
Ross initially dipped his toe in the Plantscape water with the company’s solar powered Christmas trees three years ago. “From there it blossomed, if you’ll pardon the expression,” he said. And he has been working closely with them ever since.
“It’s a year round arrangement. As soon as Plantscape collect the solar trees in January, the winter and spring hanging baskets are put up. Then in spring, the summer baskets are brought in and they stay up ‘til November, and we take them down in time for Plantscape to deliver the solar trees.
“Transforming the look of the square transformed people’s behaviour. Nothing was further from our minds. We wanted to give the square a more attractive feel. What we were finding last summer was that people were coming from nearby, such as Llandudno and Portmadog, seeing how attractive the square was and making a point of coming back another day for a few hours. Cafes put seats outside and over the Easter weekend it was so busy I don’t think you could have got another person on the square.”
The Plantscape displays are replanted each season, together with a number of beds planted up by a group of young people with learning difficulties who work at a local nursery run by Conwy County Borough Council Social Services.
“Their work, enthusiasm and pride at what they are achieving is an example to all,” said Ross.
While Ross is a huge fan of Plantscape, whose team he says have been incredibly helpful, he has just one tiny gripe!
“The service has been first class. The only problem is they tend to deliver in the middle of the night and to ensure that planters are correctly located I have to be in town by 3am!” he said.