Felixstowe Station Planters Project

By Richard Holland – Felixstowe Station Adopter

Felixstowe station planters daffodils
Felixstowe station bench planters

For many years Felixstowe’s station forecourt has been enhanced by two rather splendid large tubs of flowers sponsored by Felixstowe Travel Watch as part of the town council‘s “Felixstowe in Flower” initiative. The tubs are planted up, maintained and watered by council staff.

These used to be situated alongside the station forecourt BT public phone box, just far enough away from the station high level canopy to get some natural rainfall, but close enough to the platform to be within sight of the arrivals and departures electronic display board.

Felixstowe station phone box and flower tubs

Being beyond the cover provided by the canopy, there is a perception amongst some travellers that the “NO SMOKING” on the station rule does not apply to the station forecourt.. The combination of being within sight of the display board and the height of the edges of the tubs made them a natural place for smokers to sit and “have a fag” while waiting for a train. Perhaps a good idea you may think, but the effect resulted in the flowers in the tubs being crushed by the smokers’ backsides, and the tubs used as cigarette ash-trays.

I decided that the only solution would be to provide flower planters that could also be used as seats without the flowers being crushed, but not finding anything of the right size and shape available decided to design and build my own version.

Ideas were taken from several internet sites, with the common feature of a simple square wooden box held together with half-lap corner joints and hidden internal bolts. The basic idea was modified to lengthen the top sides to provide a support for the wooden seating at the front. A strong water resistant plywood base helped hold it all together. The size of the planters were matched to those of the BT phone box, where the planters were going to be placed, when the original round planters were moved elsewhere further away on the forecourt.

Planting the new planters

After the town council moved their tubs away to make room, supplies of construction standard timber and ply from the local builders suppliers were cut to size at my home, put together and taken to the station, where with the help of my wife Jenny and Trimley station adopter Tom, they were planted up and have been maintained ever since. The addition of a small metal “ash-tray” has also solved the problem of what to do with your old cigarette stubs.

The result has been successful with smokers now using the seats and ash tray provided and little or no damage to the flowers in the original round tubs. Jenny and I continue to re-plant, water and maintain the new square planters with Felixstowe Travel Watch continuing to sponsor the round tubs.

The finished planters

More detailed specification

Sides – lengths of 195mm x 45mm (7 ½ inch x 1 ¾ inch) treated construction grade timber

Base – 18mm (¾ inch) waterproof construction grade ply, with suitable drainage holes

Vertical corner bolts or window framing screws or lengths of threaded studding bar to match, concealed by top wood plugs

Inside lined with roofing felt for added protection (with holes to match drain holes in ply base)

Lower inside filled with polystyrene blocks to aid drainage, lower overall weight and reduce amount of planting compost required.

All external surfaces treated with non-stain, quick drying wood preservative.