The Peacock’s New Clothes

Peacock - New Willow BreastThe planting on the Peacock’s chest was proving very difficult to maintain with plants struggling to survive and falling out as a result.

We approached Rutland Willows, who created and maintain the Spitfire on the bypass, to see if they could provide a willow solution for the Peacock… they have provided the most wonderful design that helps us avoid the need for planting, but compliments the planting on the rest of the Peacock.

Maintenance for the Spitfire

Spitfire Maintenance 2014

John & Martin from Rutland Willows remove the Spitfire for maintenance

The Spitfire sculpture on the bypass is heading to the Rutland Willows workshop for a couple of weeks for some vital maintenance.

The Spitfire is in a vulnerable spot weather-wise and suffers all the elements through the year – John Shone and Martin Keeley will be working on the sculpture which, this year, requires significant repair.

Thanks to all who have donated to Oakham In Bloom to support this project, in particular the RAF Association who have again donated to the Spitfire project to enable us to continue the maintenance this year.

Oakham’s Spitfire Flying High

Oakham’s willow Spitfire sculpture, originally made for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, has had its annual spring clean and repair!

John Shone of Rutland Willows, who designed and created the sculpture in 2010, regularly carries out maintenance with his son-in-law Martin Keeley to ensure the Spitfire continues to be pride of place in its bypass flowerbed.

“The Spitfire is still in excellent condition and this year needed a treatment of preservative and some of the structure replaced.” said John. “Next winter it may need a complete overhaul as winter can take its toll, especially as it is in such an open space along the roadside.”

Oakham In Bloom took over management of the Battle of Britain bed in 2011, by popular public demand, to ensure the Spitfire remained a long-term feature of Oakham’s floral and environmental displays.

And it’s not just the Spitfire that’s getting a revamp – the flowerbed itself is currently being transformed by volunteers from Wing Grange to become a wildflower bed.

Securing the Future of the Spitfire

The Battle of Britain bed on the bypass was such a talking point with visitors and residents that Oakham In Bloom were delighted to take on the long-term maintenance and funding from the RAF Association to keep the bed and the Spitfire sculpture.

With the Spitfire back in place following refurbishment by John Shone of Rutland Willows, Oakham In Bloom volunteers and Paint It & Plant It set to work on the planting.

The bed is now planted with roses and euonymous – sustainable plants to ensure longevity of the bed and also meet the environmental aims of Oakham In Bloom.

Designer Teresa Thompson described her inspiration: “The spiral design of planting represents the spinning of propellers, the red and yellow roses are for the flames of the Blitz, and the evergreen euonymus that define the pattern are for the fortitude of the British people.”