One of the city’s most iconic buildings and striking examples of Art Deco is set to get a softer touch as a team of volunteer gardeners turns its attention to its entrance beds.
City Hall in the centre of Norwich, is ornamented by two rectangular beds on either side of the entrance, which are passed by hundreds of people a day.
For the last 20 years or so, the beds have been planted with a variety of eye-catching and colourful plants chosen not only to complement the building but, as perennials, most of which are drought resistant, for the low levels of maintenance and watering they need.
The beds are now in need of some refreshing and this caught the eye of gardener Sue Roe, a Norwich resident. Sue, along with a team of 11 eleven gardeners – an informal group of enthusiasts known as Norwich City Volunteer Gardeners – approached the council with an offer to replant and maintain the beds.
Explaining why she and the group felt motivated to take on the challenge she said “We love Norwich as a city and feel lucky to live here. We know, however, that there just isn’t enough money to do everything that makes the city look good, so as keen gardeners, we were keen to do our bit to spruce up such a well-loved area in the heart of the city that is seen by so many.
We also hoped we could inspire others who’re passionate about their local area but may be feeling it’s not looked after as much as they like – why not have a go?”
Councillor Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for neighbourhoods said:
“We’re incredibly grateful to the Norwich City Volunteer Gardeners for gifting their time and expertise to help make sure the entrance to City Hall is welcoming in this way.
We know the building can appear imposing to some and so are keen on making it as approachable as possible. This is why things like this planting scheme and the Norwich BID sponsored Christmas projections are so valuable – things the community can enjoy – and especially as we face financial challenges and so may not be able to do everything we would like.”
The team started work this autumn with planting bulbs and tidying up the beds, which it will continue to do over the coming weeks. The bulk of the replanting work will be carried out in the spring, ready for summer. When the group started work, they were approached by a passer-by who asked if they could join the group, so the team currently stands at 13 and would welcome others who may want to join.
The team has won awards for work it has already done to restore the large rose bed at Norwich Railway Station.