Lucy transforms land outside Preston prison

Lucy Parkinson and her mum Janet after working on the flower bed outside Preston prison for over a year.
Lucy Parkinson and her mum Janet after working on the flower bed outside Preston prison for over a year.
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A disused and overgrown patch of land has been transformed into a wildflower wonderland by a woman and her family.

Lucy Parkinson would often admire the flowerbeds which lined the outside walls of Preston prison in her time working there.

Lucy Parkinson, 32, from Walton-le-Dale wanted to take over this flower bed outside Preston prison after it became unkept by Preston Council due to cuts.

Lucy Parkinson, 32, from Walton-le-Dale wanted to take over this flower bed outside Preston prison after it became unkept by Preston Council due to cuts.

But over time, cuts to Preston Council’s budget saw the Stanley Street garden become dilapidated and filled with litter.

So Lucy decided to take things into her own hand.

“I used to be really nice when I worked in admin at the prison,” the 32-year-old said.

“It used to have nice bed plants growing in it but unfortunately it became overgrown.

Flowerbed on Stanley Street, outside Preston prison which is now looked after by 32-year-old Lucy Parkinson.

Flowerbed on Stanley Street, outside Preston prison which is now looked after by 32-year-old Lucy Parkinson.

“I’m a keen gardener and I thought it was a real shame it was going to ruin so I contacted the council.”

Then last spring, the Walton-le-Dale mum-of-one contacted the councillors in the area who directed her to Paul Greenwood from Preston Council’s ‘Let’s Grow Preston’ initiative, which encourages local community volunteers to care for local land or flower beds.

“I was given permission to grow wildflowers over the summer in the bed and helped developed the ‘adopt a bed’ scheme which encourages locals to take ownership of local flowerbeds in need of some tlc,” Lucy said.

“And with the valuable help from my husband, mother and sisters, we cleaned the flower bed, sowed wild flower seeds, watered them during the hot summer and kept an eye out for weeds that might overtake the wild flower seeds.

Janet Parkinson with the flowerbed her daughter Lucy took over due to Preston Council cuts.

Janet Parkinson with the flowerbed her daughter Lucy took over due to Preston Council cuts.

“This became a beautiful display in July, August and September last year.

“We then tidied up the dead flowers in autumn, collected seeds and me and my mum planted many spring daffodil bulbs which made a beautiful display in March and April this year. Now the bed is bursting with colour from the wild flowers we sowed as well as bursting with wildlife including bees and butterflys.”

And the now-probation officer is looking into taking on some flowerbeds on London Road.

A Preston Council spokesman said: ““We are delighted that Lucy has taken on tending to this flowerbed and agree it looks wonderful. Working with Lancashire County Council and Let’s Grow Preston to improve the local environment, we would welcome anyone who wants to volunteer their time and skills to look after flowerbeds across the city.

“If you’re interested, head over to the Let’s Grow Preston Facebook page for more details.”