Sunday, 24 October 2021

228... third best hanging baskets total in six years

HENLEY will be decorated with 228 hanging baskets this summer. 

Sales of the baskets closed yesterday (Thursday) and almost 100 businesses, shops and residents have bought at least one in support of Henley in Bloom.

That makes it the third most successful since the launch of the Henley Standard’s Buy A Basket campaign in 2013.

The biggest individual buyer was the Boathouse Reach Management Company with 11 baskets. These have gone up outside the townhouses facing the river next to Hobbs of Henley.

Linda Key, who lives in Boathouse Reach, said: “We feel very lucky to live in Henley. It’s a lovely town and we love to support Henley in Bloom so people can see the baskets when they walk past.

“All the neighbours get together and we buy them as a group. We always get lovely comments from people when they are walking past.

“They grow out, look great and we are able to hang them from the first floor so they are nice and high for people to see.”

The Bird in Hand pub in Greys Road has four hanging baskets, the same number as last year. Landlord Graham Steward said: “The baskets make the whole town look brighter, tidier and much more welcoming.

“The reason I get them is they make the front of the building look better. The baskets themselves are fantastic — the best I have seen.”

He said one of the best things about the baskets was that WindowFlowers not only supplied them but also maintained them over the summer.

“I don’t know what they use but it’s great stuff because the plants grow so well,” he said. Sheila Clark has bought a basket for the front of her shop, Sparkes Jewellery in Station Road. 

She said: “I think the baskets always look wonderful. They are good for business, make the town look good for the regatta and they help draw outsiders into the town.”

Sam Jonkers, who runs Jonkers Rare Books in Hart Street, also has one basket outside the shop that she runs with her husband Christiaan.

She said: “I think it’s nice to have the whole town taking a uniform approach to making it look pretty for our summer visitors. It’s also easy for us as the baskets are looked after.”

The d:two centre in Market Place will have one basket.

Dave Prior, of the Nomad youth and community project, which is based there, said: “The baskets are helping to improve the town environmentally. This year they are helping to clean the air and to make the town look more attractive.”

Carole Trethewey, of Queen Street, has bought one basket.

She said: “It helps brighten up the entrance way and all the baskets make the whole town look brighter and more beautiful in the summer.” Each basket contains a mix of blue, white and lilac flowers, comprising petunia surfinia sky blue and sweet pink, dichondra argentea silver falls, plectranthus madagascariensis variegated mintleaf, begonia illumination white and pelargonium peltatum lilac.

Some of the plants have hairy leaves to help tackle Henley’s air quality problem — some parts of the town centre have levels of nitrogen dioxide 50 per cent higher than Air Quality England’s target limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

Councillor David Eggleton, vice-chairman of Henley in Bloom, said: “The baskets are great value for money and help brighten up the town every year.

“They help support our environment but also make the whole town look lovely and picturesque.

“The cost covers watering the baskets and helps keep them looking good, especially when we have hot weather. I often get comments from people about how lovely they look.”

• A basket outside the home of Henley in Bloom chairwoman Kellie Hinton in Queen Street was paid for by her father-in-law Colin Hinton.

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