Copyright © ‘Tetbury in Bloom’ 2009-2020
The London Road Roundabout Summer 2008 and Summer 2009
The Roundabout Project:
The roundabout on London Road leading to and from Cirencester was crying out to be made over. The original planting design was one of small beds filled with seasonal bedding and framed by box trees which were strategically placed around the outer edge and a cherry tree had been planted in the centre surrounded by a ring of lavender. The affect was neat and tidy but with a plot of land the size that it is, it really needed a ‘WOW’ factor that would get people talking.
The roundabout before the makeover
So, in late June 2006, we set about tackling the largest project we had undertaken so far and drew up plans to plant the roundabout with permanent landscaping . A bed in the shape of a five pointed star was designed with its points coming down towards the roadway forming five matching beds with a central inner ring. This gave the roundabout the nick name ‘Galactica’.
The theme for this bed was ‘Loose & Natural’. A colour scheme of pink, yellow and orange was chosen using sambuccas, yellow physocarpus and escalonias in the centre. Coming down the points, colourful shrubs and perennials including red berberis, yellow choisya and spiraea, lavenders and cistus were mixed with orange geums, yellow anthemis, white gauras, orange kniphofia ‘Tetbury Torches’ & crimson penstemon. All the plants used roughly graduate in size towards the tips of the star.
The cherry tree and lavenders that formed part of the original planting, stayed in place. In all, the majority of the plants are sustainable using just a few begonias, yellow marguerites and antirrhinums to carry colour through the spaces between the plants over the Summer months.
Marking out the star shaped bed
With the plants having been chosen by Sue Hirst our plant co-coordinator and now Team Leader,
we set to and completed the planting in just one evening
The finished bed looked great but unfortunately was spoilt by the over large chevrons. So…..
We managed to persuade “the powers that be” to change them for us to much smaller ones!
One year on, the roundabout in 2007
The planting on the roundabout has been a resounding success and is the talk of everyone , not only the residents of Tetbury but visitors and residents from neighbouring towns.
At the centre of the bed, a small ornamental tree provides a focal point. Unfortunately, it seems to be a difficult spot. In Autumn 2008 the original cherry tree fell victim to disease and was replaced by a crab apple ‘Malus Rudolph’ which was specially chosen for its size and colouring being a small tree with deep pink blossom in Spring, bronzy coloured leaves in Summer and orange fruits in Autumn that stay on the tree until well into Winter.
Spring 2009 Summer 2009
In late summer 2012, following a storm, the wind was strong enough to rip the tree from its supports and snap it off at the base. In its place we have now planted a large red leafed acer tree that was donated to us by one of our regular volunteers - Mike Kniveton.
After seven winters the acer has survived and grown into a beautiful centre piece co-ordinating with the pink and plum colours in the bed.
The original lavenders which had become extremely leggy, have now been removed and have been replaced with late flowering rudbekia. It grows far too successfully (!!), but with vigorous management we keep it in check and come the late summer months it looks wonderful ,giving good height to what is now a very successful mature bed.
The tulip display in April
The roundabout during the summer months
The BIG Makeover 2019
In 2016 the surrounding location of the roundabout started to change dramatically. The surrounding fields were given over to the building of several new housing developments and this increased pedestrian footfall from practically zero, to potentially several hundred!
By Summer 2019 the lack of visibility across the roundabout was becoming an issue for pedestrians needing to cross the London Road to and from the Highfield housing development, so we set about to address this problem.
In July, with much needed practical and financial assistance from the Town Council and its ground staff, we decided to give the roundabout a massive makeover….
Before starting to take the shrubs out
Although our main aim was to improve the visibility to cross the road more safely, it also gave us an opportunity to improve the look of the roundabout. Over the years, where the planting had matured, it had tended to lose its overall colour impact.
So, apart from the central Acer tree and the box trees, we set about digging out by hand, all of the large shrubs that had been part of the original planting scheme in 2006 and which now filled the centre section. We also removed anything else that was deemed too invasive or likely to interfere with the improved visibility we wanted to create.
By the end of August we were ready to add in 30 bags of manure and start the replanting process using long flowering perennials ….i.e. Penstemons, ground cover ‘Magic Carpet’ roses, dianthus, erigeron, erodium, persicaria, the kniphofia ‘Tetbury Torch’ that had been such a success in the early years and dark leaf heuchera to continue the theme from the tip of the points to the centre. We also added in just a couple of low growing colourful foliage shrubs to each point…. i.e. the gold leafed euonymus and miniature yellow leafed spiraeas.
In late October the new planting was completed by adding in several hundred more Spring bulbs and the results were very promising!
After all the large shrubs have been removed leaving the Acer tree, the box trees and showing the new floral planting within the central area
In 2020, despite the Covid-19 situation, we still managed to continue our work around the town whilst adhering to the different restrictions imposed on us all. In March, just when the first lockdown came in to force, the spring flowers were just coming to their peak. The hundreds of tulip bulbs we’d planted in the roundabout just a few months before looked an absolute picture as we’d hoped.
The summer look was just as attractive with all the long flowering perennials that we’d planted at the end of 2019 doing really well. For an extra splash of colour we also added in bedding geraniums and antirrhinums .
September 2020 showing the improved visibility of oncoming traffic and the summer display
In the late autumn of 2020 it was decided that when we had removed all the large shrubs, we had left too many box trees in the central area. Some of them were now becoming too big and they were blocking out a lot of the floral display. To allow the long flowering perennials to shine through and give maximum colour throughout the year, we removed four of the nine box trees, leaving just one at the top of each of the five points. The effect was another instant improvement!