Volunteers’ upset as hundreds of donated crocus plants destroyed by ‘over enthusiastic’ mowing by council

Flattened crocus plants at the Sunken Gardens Photo Peter Hasted

Volunteers at Wesbrook’s Sunken Gardens say over zealous mowing by Thanet council has flattened crocuses that had been donated by Rotary clubs for the End Polio Now project.

The crocuses were originally planted in 2019 and this year had just started to emerge when a council worker mowed right over them.

Photo Peter Hasted

Sue Finch, from the Sunken Garden Society committee, said: “The Sunken Gardeners were hard at work and the gardens are looking beautiful at the moment with many spring flowers emerging-daffodils, snowdrops and crocus all in bloom.

Photo Peter Hasted

“Sadly, there won’t be as many crocus to see this year due to some very enthusiastic mowing by the council which has completely flattened any brave enough to pop their heads up out of the grass and any early emerging pollinators looking for food will struggle to get sustenance from a squashed crocus.

Photo Bex Cartwright

“Given the lack of resources the council are continually having to deal with, it’s shocking that they have managed to start this year’s mowing schedule in the middle of February.  Our message for the council is please follow the mowing request you received from Sunken Garden Society in 2021 and avoid the crocus.”

Thanet council declined to comment.

Peter Hasted (left) Photo Carl Hudson

Peter Hasted, from the Sunken Garden committee, said: “I was really upset when I realised hundreds of donated bulbs from Rotary and BBCT had been mowed before they had the opportunity to flower.

“The council has started grass cutting even earlier than normal. I’m not quite sure why it was started so urgently this year.”

In October 2019 two local Rotary clubs in Thanet donated over 1000 purple crocus corms to the Sunken Garden in Westbrook as part of the Rotary ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.

Members of both clubs joined together one morning to plant the bulbs in the grass as a community project.    Other Rotary clubs did the same thing on a national basis.

The sunken gardeners will be back in the gardens on Saturday February 25th from 10am. Everyone is welcome to go along and say hello and join in with the garden revival.

 Sunken Garden Society SGS | Facebook


  1. What is the council doing cutting grass in February, mowing season doesn’t start to March, this is so early bulbs can bloom without getting damaged, employ someone that knows about gardening this way councils would save money in the long run.

  2. To be fair to the grass cutting team they could not be expected to circle around each crocus. Now that would be ridiculous.

  3. “Thanet council declined to comment.”

    Here in a nutshell is the problem. Quite happy to hike the Council Tax year on year whilst the quality of service goes down the pan.

    When challenged by the public this is their response.

  4. Typical Thanet council, ruin everything that is nice. I have a bit of a grassy area outside my property boundary, they’ve been cutting the grass & wildflowers down every 2 weeks for as long as I’ve lived here, 20+yrs. They are a disgrace to the residents of Thanet.

    • Maria

      You are so lucky to have TDC cut outside your property every 2 weeks wow ! You must be the only person in thanet that gets that treatment

        • Maria

          Trust TDC cutting that area every other week is special treatment !

          Tdc sports grounds would be lucky to get that amount of cutting !

  5. Weird thing is Thanet sub contracts a lot of its grass cutting to Kent CC. Another reason to have a unitary authority!

  6. No comment as usual from this useless tory thanet council. They just destroy,.close down, and run down everything

      • Lol. It’s so bloody depressing. Have you seen the pseudo environmental campaigner the Labour Party may end up with to stand at the next GE? Thanet doesn’t stand a chance. She’s even been mealy mouthed over the Airport can you believe.

  7. The problem with the council is,most of the people they employ haven’t got any idea what they are doing.
    I’ve watched them when they come to cut the grass where i live, and a child could do a better job.
    They obviously don’t know what they are doing.
    And the people who are in charge of the grass cutting teams, obviously haven’t got any idea about gardening.
    I used to work as a gardener,so I know what I’m talking about.

    • Steve

      The problem is the grass cutting crew s have a certain amount of yardish they have to meet each day. It’s not about presentation it’s about yardish, hence the poor standard. Plus the machinery is the cheapest you can buy.

      I have worked in both private and council. Private was about presentation and high standards. Council was all about yardish and money saving.

  8. Sickening!
    Public employees across Thanet appear to have little or no respect for anything that breathes. From hedges and bulbs… to babies.
    Yet they all think they deserve a pay increase.
    High time the responsibility and funding for such tasks is returned to parish councils. End this corrupt competitive tendering garbage now. Having left the E.U. it is legally possible to do so.

  9. Are the gardeners “Directly” employed by the council or are they a contractor? My guess is they are a contractor, and are not being properly supervised by the council! Or they are working from a poorly worded contract, that doesn’t specify the time of year grass cutting should take place, Duuurh!

  10. The problem with all the “competitive tendering” malarky, and all the sub-contracting by Councils, is that the actual Councillors are increasingly remote from whoever ends up doing a particular job.
    I doubt if any councillors ,of whatever political bent, are happy to find out about this.
    But they work a system whereby Council money is siphoned off to a range of private businesses,regardless of the task in hand. Those businesses work hard at NOT working hard in order to increase the excess income to the owners.
    So they whizz out in February with their mowers after a dry spell to get a job done without taking overall responsibility for the end result. It’s just a contract.
    If I had a pound for every time Alan Titchmarsh describes his excellent training in a Municipal Parks and Gardens Department, I would be able to buy my own lawnmower.
    But he has a point. When Councils had their own workforce, they had proper training, proper pay and pensions, and the workforce stayed around, learning on the job. And they had a loyalty to the Council and the local residents, NOT to whatever local “entrepreneur” had won the contract.
    But nowadays ,Councils haven’t got the money to employ their own staff, except office administrators, though they seem to have enough money to waste on amateurish private contractors.
    It is going to be a very long haul to get back to sensible council structures. Thanet is just a bad example of a national problem.

  11. Tendering is often a better solution if managed effectively; employing your own workforce comes with the burden of employment rights, strikes (ahhhh), and frivolous claims of dismissal. Yes, there will be some profiteering by those subcontracted firms, but is it really as bad as having that one dishonest employee off work for 2 years with a “bad back” at your continuing expense? How much would that cost?

    Many people years ago were proud of their civic garden areas, but our younger generations are so detached from all things flora and fauna now there’s no going back.

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