When I was a kid, my dad, who liked to potter in the garden in his brown flairs and equally brown shirt (what was it about brown in the 70s?) told me a weed was simply a plant growing where you didn’t want it to be.
When I was a kid, my dad, who liked to potter in the garden in his brown flairs and equally brown shirt (what was it about brown in the 70s?) told me a weed was simply a plant growing where you didn’t want it to be writes Dave Burrows.
Any plant, he said, could be a weed. Equally plants considered to be a weeds had their place.
Most people, however, have their own idea of what weeds are. Dandelions growing on verges or grasses pushing their way up through cracks in the pavements usually fulfil the criteria.
And it is these that have caused consternation among Shrewsbury town councillors who fear the problem could put Shrewsbury’s Britain in Bloom reputation on the line. Weeds, it seems, are everywhere. And the judges are on their way.
Some people will see Britain in Bloom as a little bit ‘Vicar of Dibley’ – something that committees of corduroy-wearing muck-rakers discuss at great length but which is, ultimately, unimportant.
This could not be further from the truth. Aside from the fact that Shrewsbury is known as the ‘Town of Flowers’, there can be little argument that the whole place looks so much better thanks to the hard work that is put in by everybody involved with the In Bloom competition.
Shrewsbury Town Council points the finger of blame at the county council. And now here comes a shocking announcement (hint – that was sarcasm. It’s not surprising in the slightest). It appears the problem has arisen because the responsibility for getting rid of the weeds has been farmed off to an outside contractor.
Back in the mists of time, councils were set up to deal with this sort of thing. Quite when they became organisations that spent all their time looking for other people to do it instead is anybody’s guess.
The town council says that the county council’s contractors ‘fail to recognise and appreciate that the public, rightly or wrongly determines the quality of a council by how well it cuts the grass, sweeps the streets and empties the bins’.
This is true. We do. The problem is the council doesn’t cut the grass, sweep the streets or empty the bins. It gets other people to do so. Other people who aren’t necessarily local (often the company’s HQ isn’t even in the UK).
The town council says the weeds should have been tackled in March when they were in their infancy (think Percy Thrower playing King Herod armed with a can of Round-up) and now it has been left too late. So bad is the problem, they say, that the judging route has had to be altered (probably should have kept that to themselves – what happens if a rogue judge goes off on their own and takes the law into their own hands?).
Shropshire Council insists their won’t be a problem. All the weeds will be cleared by the time the judges come. Failing that two county councillors are going to dress up in plant plots muttering ‘flobadod’ all the way round, so the judges will think it’s some cute tribute to 1950s kids’ telly.
Altogether now: ‘Weeeeeeeeeeeed’.