One of the abiding beliefs behind the Gorgeous Gorse Hill group, is in the ability of plants and flowers to create a feeling of positivity when you see them – hence why we’re aiming to fill Gorse Hill with fruit, veg, herbs and brightly coloured flowers.
When the group started nearly two years ago, one of the first things we started doing was sticking bulbs, seeds and plants into the tree pits. Most streets have a tree pit or two (and Gorse Street: a whopping 22!), and if seeing a gaudy tulip or a cheeky poppy as you trudge to work, puts a small smile on your face, or even makes your heart skip a little, we’ve done our job.
Gorse Hill has around 80 tree pits, and Gorgeous Gorse Hill have planted something in nearly all of them (a handful we’ve not yet got to, others have no space around the tree). (Thanks should also go to the fab volunteers from Styles & Wood, who helped us plant up tree pits in several streets, a few weeks ago.)
The soil in most of the pits is generally really poor: rubble, sand, and if we’ve hit the jackpot, cakes of cat muck. In some pits the tree roots have reached out so thoroughly, there’s hardly any room to squeeze in our little bulbs, pansies, dianthus and lavender!
We’ve been topping up the pits where we can with topsoil, mainly very kindly donated by Rebecca and Mark, two lovely Gorse Hill residents, and as plants start to grow, so the soil gets easier to turn over, and pop more plants in.
The real challenge, however, is keeping anything in them alive! Even with the improving soil, the rubble, sand and dominant tree roots, mean than any water vanishes in a flash. So, even after last night’s downpour, the pits today are bone dry.
Last summer, a gang of us went wandering the gorgeous streets of GH, night after night, watering cans in hand, giving the parched plants a drink, but it got tough: some of us went on holiday, some of us got ill, some nights we were just plain cream crackered, and most of all, it started to take AGES! As a result, quite a few of the planted tree pits suffered.
We’ve learnt a lesson, and this year are topping up the tree pits with more soil and more hardy plants, but water is still a problem.
You can easily spot the tree pits that people are already maintaining – they’re the ones with the gorgeous flowers! But, we need the help of the rest of you Gorgeous Gorse Hillians: if you have a tree pit near your house, please can you give it a water, as often as you can? Even if you know somebody else is looking after it already, those pits are guzzling the elixir of life, and I don’t think there any danger you could over-water them!
If you fancy chucking in some seeds or plants yourself, as many people are now doing, go for it! And if you fancy joining in with our now regularly Weds eve at 6.30, Tree Pit Tart Ups, keep an eye on here, our Facebook page or our Twitter account to find out where we’ll be.
PS. Thank you to everybody who has watered, planted and weeded the tree pits near them – and big thanks to the lovely folk who offer us cuppas – you are awesome!