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Cutting the mustard at Ilkley's new pocket park

The new Pocket Park in Ilkley’s central car park

We all like a bit of yellow - it is the colour of sun, sand and the leader’s jersey in the Tour de France!.

You might have noticed that there is an abundance of yellow mustard spicing up the flower beds in the new Pocket Park in Ilkley’s central car park.

These beds are tended by the voluntary group, Ilkley in Bloom, but the appearance of the blooming mustard was as big a surprise to us as to some of our residents and visitors.

Alison Shaw is from Ilkley in Bloom: “We have planted a variety of plants in the beds over the last few weeks, but hadn't reckoned on what must have been lots of the age-old condiment seed in the top soil which had been laid down. The yellow blooms are a huge hit with the bees and, presently, certainly cover a lot of otherwise bare soil very effectively - indeed a passerby asked us for a couple of the plants we were thinning out for an empty patch in her garden.

“This unexpected burst of life in the bed raises interesting questions about our relationship with nature. Gardening has a lot to do with control, but it is sometimes tricky to get the balance right: how much do we want to prune, train and water, or let nature get on with doing its thing? The mustard is great, but is now muscling in other plants. Some will be left to finish flowering, then removed before it sets seed - so you will have to go elsewhere for your hot condiment.

“As well as the flower beds in the Pocket Park, Ilkley in Bloom tends around twenty five planted areas around Ilkley, from the urn at the Town Hall, the police station garden, to the Weston Road Pinfold. We have varied the styles of planting across the different areas including a wild flower patch near the Black Hat and traditional planting in the Sensory Garden on the Grove. Perennials are put in as much as possible. Watering can be a challenge, so plants which can tolerate dry conditions are a good thing!

“We love to see the bees and butterflies visit our plants. We love it when passersby say they enjoy the planting. We hope to continue to try to find balance in our beds and create more blooms - of all colours, not just mustard - for everyone to enjoy.”

If you are interested in helping with Ilkley in Bloom, you can contact Alison at


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