On Wednesday 9th December 2015 offenders managed by Thames Valley Probation Service’s community payback team cleared the grass and weeds from around the tree. Bloom provided the gravel, the lads spread it and a piece of scrubby ground has been transformed. Many thanks to Wokingham Borough Council for taking the spill away.
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Bill Poulsom, a member of Transition Wokingham, has very kindly produced a 2016 calendar for Wokingham in Bloom.
Bill’s charge covers his costs and includes a small charitable donation. If you are interested in finding out more Bill can be contacted at email@example.com
Berkshire Gardens Trust is an organization which seeks to encourage towns and villages to plant and maintain flowers and shrubs in their precincts. It operates an annual award scheme. The Pavilions Border was entered in 2015 and all involved are delighted to have received an ‘outstanding’ award for the creation and maintenance of this community garden. At the presentation ceremony on Thursday 8th October the town mayor, Cllr Philip Mirfin, was gratified to receive the certificate. Work began in 2012, and has continued in 2014 and 2015. The work has been led consistently by Rose Street Gardeners from The Methodist Church. Gerry, Ann, Guy and Jim have been the stalwarts ably assisted by Jenny and others.
Other groups and supporters are:
Michael and Vanda Bowyer, Sovereign Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Wokingham Superbowl, Wokingham Borough Council, Thames Valley Probation Service, Gardeneer, four local tree companies, 1st Finchampstead Scouts, The Holt School, Incredible Edible ,and many local residents.
This is not an exhaustive list and any omission is not intentional! A brilliant achievement sustained over three years and with more to come.
A celebration for the efforts of so many groups and individuals for Thames and Chilterns in Bloom 2015 was held at the Town Hall on Tuesday 29th September. There are too many people to thank personally for their tremendous contribution,
which is the heart and soul of the entry. As well as the result of the main competition heartfelt congratulations were given to Transition Wokingham and Incredible Edible for their superb marks in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ section of Thames and Chilterns in Bloom. Fired with enthusiasm the attendees produced a long list of projects for 2016. If you would like to be involved in some capacity, then Bloom needs you. Please contact WTC Amenities Officer on 0118 974 0886.
On Wednesday 16th September 2015 at Oxford Town Hall the Thames and Chilterns in Bloom regional awards were announced. Wokingham in Bloom was delighted to receive a Silver Gilt medal in the large town category. Our score of 166 out of 200 equates to 83%, up from 75% in 2013 and 80% in 2014. Huge congratulations to everyone involved. As you can see from the detailed marking sheets the judges were impressed with everything they saw. Members of the Bloom steering group have subsequently met with the senior judge for more in-depth feedback. Based on this we think that 2016’s entry will have more focus on the town centre around Broad, Denmark, Peach and Rose Streets. However, before we launch into 2016 it’s reasonable to reflect on a job very well done in 2015!
How ironic after months of dry weather when gardeners performed daily rain dances, the heavens decided to open on Friday 24th when the two Thames and Chilterns in Bloom judges were in town. However, to their great credit they ploughed on with happy hearts.
Whilst we won’t find out the result until Wednesday 16th September in Oxford it is fair to say that both judges were very impressed with the progress made by Bloom over the past year. It would be unfair to single out any individual or group – everyone has worked singlemindedly and with great commitment. The judges saw the passion which underpins all of the projects and work. They both said this shone through. Thank you to everyone.
Whatever the outcome arrangements are being made to hold a celebration evening in the Town Hall in late September for everyone connected with Bloom – and for those who want to be. Details will follow.
2013 – Silver Gilt, Wokingham, large town category
2014 – Silver Gilt, Wokingham, large town category
2015 – fingers crossed! However, maintaining a Silver Gilt would be an excellent achievement.
Yes, it really is that near at hand. A great deal of work is going on to present the town in the best light to the two experienced Thames and Chilterns in Bloom judges. It sounds like a cliche but getting a good score won’t have been for the want of trying. Everyone in the town can play their part particularly if you live near one of the featured stops for the judges and especially if you live along the route the judges will be taken along. Both can be found on our website and the route is also on the Town Council’s website If you do live on the route it would be very much appreciated if you could look at the front of your property and deal with any weeds which are lurking there. They seem to grow when you turn your back. The eyes of the judges are everywhere! We were delighted to receive prestigious Silver Gilt medals in 2013 and 2014 and hope to at least do the same in 2015.
The empty hive, brilliantly restored by John and Jenny Gilbert, has been returned to the roundabout, with the kind permission of Wokingham Borough Council and Martin & Pole who sponsor the planting on there. This year it benefits from its own sign designed and produced by a student from the Holt School
It welcomes people to Wokingham and says this is a Bloom town. It seems to support the Britain in Bloom theme of ‘Greener Streets: Better Lives’ in a way that you can’t quite pin down. Please let the Town Council know if you spot significant numbers of bees loitering – although this is unlikely!
One evening at the end of 2014 the Town Hall was filled by volunteers who had helped with that year’s Thames and Chilterns in Bloom entry. Part of the evening was a ‘brainstorm’ about projects for 2015. One scheme that received an overwhelming thumbs-up was the restoration of five large brick built raised beds by Windsor Ward at Wokingham Hospital. The impetus and drive to get this to a great place has come from Sally Maloy at the hospital, supported by the enthusiasm and horticultural expertise of Jenny Gilbert and Pauline MacBrayne. At heart Sally wanted drab conifers and shrubs supplanted by more colourful flowers.
- many large shrubs were removed from the beds by the hospital’s facilities team
- Gardeneer donated a member of its team for several hours to remove a mountain of old shrubs
- stumps and roots were ground out
- Bloom volunteers spread loads of topsoil and compost
- planting was planned and the plants purchased
- On Sunday 14th June large numbers of 1st Woosehill cubs, beavers and scouts with their leaders and helpers undertook the planting
- On Monday 15th june this was completed by patients attending the Young People with Dementia clinic at the hospital.
Truly a team effort. Particular thanks to Public Health, Wokingham Borough Council for their help with funding, without which Sally’s ambitious plans would not have been so fully realised. Patients and staff are so pleased with the outcome.
Fired by this success Sally has plans for a wildflower bank and more plants by Ascot Ward.
On Saturday 20th June 2015, with the threat of rain lurking in the humid air, an intrepid band of scouts from 1st Finchampstead gathered at the Pavilions Border off Wellington Road.
Marshalled by Scout Leader James Dunn and Rose Street gardener Mrs Gerry Higson the scouts were set to work. A caravan of wheelbarrows moved tons of woodchip from the big heap at the bottom of the footpath to the planting by Wokingham Superbowl. Scout team B spread the woodchip all around. The planting which is now in full flower looks wonderful.
For two years volunteers from the Methodist Church have toiled to create a community garden from scrubland and have succeeded mightily.
1st Finchampstead have supported the gardeners on many occasions. Well done to one and all.
On Saturday Town Mayor Cllr Philip Mirfin was very impressed with the boys application and achievements. Oh and for good measure the scouts rounded off their morning with a litter pick!
Friends of the Emm Brook realised their long-held ambition to improve and expand the small pond at Woosehill Meadows, between Brookside and Woosehill Community Hall. On Friday 5th June 2015 our contractor deepened, stepped and dammed the pond.
Foteb have subsequently replaced the plants around the pond, previously removed for safe-keepng.
This major project for FOTEB and Wokingham in Bloom will now benefit from some much needed rain! Many, many thanks to Charles, Sue and Roland from FOTEB for all of their help. Especially Roland without whose detailed plans nothing would have happened.
For the third year running Wokingham Town Council and Wokingham Horticultural Association are joining forces for the open day. Many thanks to Rachael from WHA for designing the poster. Do come and see what allotment gardening is all about, particularly if you are thinking of renting a plot. Details for renting can be found on the Town Council’s website.
Many thanks to Joanna Nahum, Graham Prickett and students at The Holt School for manufacturing the Wokingham In Bloom signs which have appeared around the town. Joanna organised a design competition among the students. The chosen designs were incorporated into the Bloom signs and produced on coloured perspex with the school’s laser cutting equipment. The signs have been installed on posts at the rose bed on Rose Street, the community garden at the top of Howard Road, Carnival Corner (at the bottom of Denmark Street), The Pavilions Border, the library patch and the Ormonde Road allotment site. Wokingham in Bloom is delighted with this joint venture with The Holt. Many thanks as well to the Town Council’s groundsman for his hard work in installing the posts and signs.
Wokingham in Bloom is delighted to say that the sign opposite the new Station Approach road is now in place. This mirrors the sign on the traffic island by the Ship Inn at the top of London Road. Many thanks to the Town Council’s groundsman for putting the sign in place…not an easy task. Thanks also are due to Balfour Beatty Ltd for responding so quickly when we discovered a concrete and tarmac pad beneath the grass where the sign was to be put. Men with drills sorted us out! As ever thanks to Ann Crail for responding so swiftly and taking the photograph. We hope to add another board for 2015’s result.
Many thanks to Jenny Gilbert for clearing the scrub ground by the side of the Raglan on Denmark Street. Always looked somewhat unloved, so with a bit of effort Jenny has planted some colourful shrubs including eunonymus and pieris. The photo shows Jenny in full-on gardening mode. More power to her trowel! Really big thanks to the staff at the Raglan for filling our watering can many times last Thursday. As the shrubs grow and blossom expect more posts!
A significant part of the town’s entry into Thames and Chilterns in Bloom 2015 is the gardening campaigns sponsored by the Town Council. There are four strands: schools, town centre businesses, allotment tenants and residents.
The schools campaign is divided into nurseries and infants; junior; and secondary. Some 30 nurseries and schools have been invited to take part. The Town Mayor visits all entrants in early July.
The campaign for townsfolk and their gardens is called ‘Green Fingers’. This is divided into front gardens; back gardens; hanging baskets and containers; hanging baskets and containers for residents with physical or sensory disabilities; and care homes. We hope that many people take part and choose to support the Bloom theme of ‘Greener Streets: Better Lives’. Our chosen colours are purple, pink and orange. Members of Wokingham Horticultural Association kindly undertake visiting each entrant in early July. Prizes for 2015 start at £75. However, it is the taking part which matters! Please remember that the campaign is for residents who live within the Wokingham town boundary. Full details can be found on the Town Council’s website.
Many thanks to Sharon of Thames Valley Probation Service for her help in arranging the wood chip spreading today and to Claire the on-site TVPS supervisor for managing the offenders. Eight offenders serving community payback orders have spread the wood chip all over the soil. The aim is to suppress weeds from growing vigorously.
Thanks also to Ann for the photographs and to Juliette at Wokingham Superbowl for allowing the offenders to use the bowling alley’s toilets. An essential part of arrangements with TVPS!
Juliette is also arranging to have Wokingham in Bloom’s water-butts attached to the drainpipe in the yard behind Superbowl. Should be in place next week. This will make it easier for Gerry and Rose Street gardeners, and Vicky and Incredible Edible to water their plants and produce. When the offenders finished moving the wood chip they moved on to Ormonde Road allotments and shifted two tonnes of 20mm aggregate to complete the drainage work started in January. Happy gardening over the Easter weekend!
The community payback scheme in action.
Mrs Ann Davis, a long-standing Wokingham resident kindly tends the trough. She purchases, plants and weeds the former horse trough. You can’t tie your horse’s lead to the Town Hall any more or let it have a well-earned drink of water but you can admire Ann’s efforts. Well done, Ann.
The Town Council has a contract for hanging flower baskets to be installed around the town centre. From May 2015 the number will be increased from 61 to 77, and for the first time baskets will be hung from lamp-columns on Rose Street. A further innovation will be six hanging baskets on the Town Hall.
The colour scheme chosen by the Wokingham in Bloom steering group for this year is bright orange, purple and pink. The flowers in the baskets will be a combination of Begonia Illumination (orange), Calibrachoa (dark lavender), Pellargonium Decora (dark pink) and Surfinia (hot pink). Cascades of colour will assault the judges when they visit in July.
Last week letters and order forms from Wokingham in Bloom were delivered by steering group members to all of the businesses in the town centre. The contractor, Windowflowers, is able to offer fully planted, maintained and watered 20 inch hanging baskets with these flowers in them for the discounted rate of £50.00 plus VAT. The baskets will look wonderful from May to October. Over the previous two years many businesses have taken one or more baskets and we hope that many more will do so in 2015.
All residents across the town are invited to use the bright orange, purple and pink colour scheme for their own gardens and hanging baskets. If we can go anyway towards achieving this then the town will present a brilliantly colourful face for the judges to admire. Happy planting!
If you want to get involved with Bloom please contact: Wokingham in Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org