EDITORIAL: Derry, you are blooming marvellous!

If you’ve taken a stroll along the quay over recent weeks or visited the city centre or local parks your eye will likely have been drawn to the bursts of colour spilling forth from flowers boxes and hanging baskets.

It’s easy to see why Derry has been repeatedly recognised as a leading City in Bloom, and this year again the town is looking fantastic. Whoever first came up with the idea of using flowers and plants to transform, soften and add a splash of colour to Derry’s streetscape deserves recognition.

The arrangements of trailing petunias, giant pansies, lobelia, marigolds, lupins etc have really changed and brightened up our city, enhancing the natural setting, ornate architecture and hilly streets that set Derry apart, and providing plenty of Instagramable photo opportunities for tourists and locals alike.

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And it’s not just the city centre - look at the towns, villages, businesses and roundabouts across Counties Derry, Tyrone and Donegal.

Flowers along the quay in Derry have added a welcome splash of colour along the quay.

In fields and along roads in local estates the mass planting of that old reliable the daffodil over recent years have been a wonderful addition as bright reminders that spring has arrived, but during the lockdown, this year their yellow trumpets also heralded a sign of hope after what was a long, bleak, silent winter. They’ve died off now and the Council grasscutters are out in force, with some locations left for wildflowers and grasses to mature to aid the all important bee, bird and insect populations. In this respect too our councils have been pioneers.

Over the past year, more of us have been out walking, jogging, cycling and have had the time to really appreciate the beauty of our local areas.

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More people are gardening and appreciating the power of working the soil for our wellbeing and mental health. Hopefully it has also brought about a new appreciation for the men and women in yellow jackets we often see diligently planting, watering and maintaining the public beauty spots. Next time you see them maybe give them a nod or a wave or say hi. After all our world would, literally, be a much duller place without them.

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Sunshine and colour at Brooke Park. DER3519GS – 016