Image: Parks and Gardens. Acrylic on Canvas. 120 x 100 cm. 2019.
There is no doubt that we need to keep our parks open and the recent announcement to that effect was both welcome and eminently sensible. In this blog I have mentioned before the plight of people cooped up in properties without any outside space. Common sense also needs to be applied to the policing of these spaces and the vast majority of the public are conforming to, and very aware of social distancing. Sitting down in a park for five minutes to take some air, for me doesn’t constitute a crime.
It is likely that amongst the first businesses to be opened after the lockdown will be garden centres, but this could be too late to save many plants and flowers from going to seed, and I cannot see that with sufficient safety and distance measures introduced why this could be brought forward. The HTA is calling for Government support of the ornamental crop sector, which grows bulbs, bedding plants, cut flowers and pot plants for garden centres, supermarkets, florists and DIY stores.The call has been backed by TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, who warned of “irreparable damage” to gardens and open spaces if the sector is not supported.The HTA says around 650 businesses across the UK produce ornamental crops, contributing £1.4 billion to the economy each year and employing more than 15,000 people directly and almost 30,000 indirectly. Of course this is not only about the economy; peoples mental health and wellbeing is an important consideration and flowers have the power to make us all feel happy.