After weeks of rainy days and two cancellations the now annual event of Banstead crocus planting finally went ahead.
This is arranged and sponsored by Banstead Rotary as part of their Purple for Polio campaign, which has been set up to raise funds for eradicating this terrible disease by supporting an immunisation programme in the now greatly reduced areas of the world which is still blights the populations. Four years ago, Rotary and the Banstead Horticultural Society set up a planting scheme with local schools that delivered the planting of thousands of crocuses (which are purple and therefore symbolise the campaign). Initially Epsom College came, but the following year and since we have work alongside the children of the Beacon.
This year we planted 8000 crocuses with a team of 4 adults and 8 children. The site chosen was the centre point of the library wheelbarrows where we etched out two rough circles and then got stuck in with our spades. We were fortunate enough to be digging into ground softened by weeks of rain. The turf was lifted in a rather haphazard manner and piled at the side. There was a stage where it looked like the task would not be completed in the hour and a half allocated, but then Zizzi’s managed to wave a magical wand of incentive. First they asked if we would like drinks, and then said they would serve pizzas afterwards. This speeded up the job enormously and we all beavered away to pour in the crocuses, and replace the turf in double quick time. I am afraid the area looked rather like a rugby field after a wet muddy match had been played, but it will soon mend, and the turves knit together again. I think the children would have had a hard time working out what was the best bit of it all: the jumping up and down to consolidate the relaid turf, or the pizza reward in Zizzis. I think we adults felt that a miracle had happened to get it finished in time. In early March you will see two lovely circles of crocus on this spot. Well, at least we all hope so. It will be interesting to see which variety of crocus has been planted this year and whether it is the same as the steam of crocuses planted two years ago in the Library grounds.