Have you seen our 'soul bike' yet?
A colourful floral display outside one of our blocks has become a popular backdrop for selfie-taking tourists.
The road bike (pictured) has been spray painted and filled with a display of blooms and regularly features in the background of photos of passersby.
It’s located outside West Hoe Flats in West Hoe Road, a popular thoroughfare for visitors to and from the Hoe.
The gardens have now attracted the attention of judges from South West in Bloom’s It’s Your Neighbourhood award.
The gardens have been a real labour of love for residents and our team of Rangers.
Environmental Services Supervisor Brian Parker said: “Everybody got involved. It’s really brought people together. It’s a great location – there’s a lot of traffic down this road so everyone gets an opportunity to see it.
“The bike was brought over from the Re-use Centre and stripped down by the Rangers. They used to do bits before and after their lunch for 15 minutes at a time. It took a few weeks. They began painting by hand but I said it would take too long so they started spray painting.”
Ranger Adrian Vasnic has named the bike the Soul Bike after watching a You Tube clip of a similar bike in Jamaica which has been fitted with speakers and blasts out tunes at high volume.
As Adrian says, “When you paint, you paint with your soul.”
Fellow Ranger John Hamlyn did his bit by picking up old plants from the North Prospect regeneration and replanting them at West Hoe.
Residents all got involved by helping out with communal areas and making sure their own spaces were up to scratch.
Sylvia Ashford, 90, has a colourful patch outside her ground floor flat, which is tended by her daughter June as she finds it difficult to manage these days.
“I reckon we will do quite well in the competition,” said Sylvia.
June said: “I enjoy gardening – I find it really therapeutic. I’ve also helped with a neighbour’s garden which was like a desert when she moved in.”
Resident Betty Davis added: “All the people who have ground floor flats take real pride in their gardens.”
Leaseholder Ray Stallard says the gardens have attracted a surprising amount of wildlife.
On warm days, a bees’ nest can be found in the bushes behind Ray’s flat. The garden at the front of the flats also attracts seven ducks on a daily basis, as Ray explains.
“They fly over from Mount Edgcumbe every morning. Then, at the end of the day, they all line up and take off one by one to fly back again.
“We get rooks and magpies – it’s like a zoo around here. Tourists come and have their pictures taken with the ducks. If you stand in a certain spot you can also get the top of the Duke of Cornwall hotel in the background.”
South West in Bloom judge Josephine Spring said: “It’s an interesting site with a surprising amount of wildlife. Rainwater from the roof is collected into butts which is good. It’s great collaboration between the residents and PCH. It’s really brightened up a very urban setting.”
Housing Officer Marissa Maloney said: “The Tenancy Management and Environmental Services teams and the residents all worked together as one to achieve a fantastic end result for all to enjoy.”
The It’s Your Neighbourhood award winners will be announced in October.