About Marianne Pentek

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Wokingham in Bloom, a potpourri

A great deal has happened in March around Bloom, not least the appearance of the crocuses on The Terrace which were planted last year thanks to the support of The Wokingham Society.

  • a raised brick bed has been cleared on Rose Street and planted with roses


    Bluebells in Holt Copse

  • a letter and order form has been taken around all of the businesses in the town centre inviting them to take a fully serviced and maintained 20 inch hanging flower basket for summer.  The baskets will have the same flowers as the Town Council’s baskets
  • plans to restore the pond at Woosehill Meadows are well advanced.  An application has been sent to the Environment Agency for permission to carry out the work
  • Jenny Gilbert and Ann Crail have cleared  the winter weeds from the patch by the ramp to the Library, and tidied it up splendidly!

Do look out for:

  • the eagerly anticipated return of the beehive to Woosehill roundabout…. any day now
  • the small scrub area by the Lord Raglan on Denmark Street will soon look a great deal lovelier
  • Transition Wokingham have put up a new fence at the Cockpit Path community garden and worked wonders in the garden
  • a piece of land on Alderman Willey Close, opposite Dickens Court, has been earmarked for another Incredible Edible project  -more power to their trowels!
  • please go to the Wokingham in Bloom website to see what the Holt Copse Conservation Volunteers have been up to
    The water trough by the Town Hall

    The water trough by the Town Hall


    A broken buddleia and undergrowth removed from the Rose Street bed

    A broken buddleia and undergrowth removed from the Rose Street bed


Cherry tree planted on Oaklands Drive: Wokingham in Bloom

On Thursday 19th February 2015 a willing band of volunteers gathered on Oaklands Drive and planted a Mount Fuji cherry tree. Many thanks to Ann, Jim, Guy, Bob and Carol for their hard work.

Bob and Carol identified  an available piece of grass verge and Julia and James from Wokingham Borough Council kindly allowed us to use the space.  There are several cherries along Oaklands Drive so the recent addition will feel right at home!

IMG_4409 IMG_4430



Roses on Rose Street: Wokingham in Bloom

It has been a long-held ambition of Rose Street residents and others to see the half-moon shaped brick bed opposite WADE’s shop tidied up and replanted. This ambition has now been realised.  The rotten buddleia stump, ivy, rocks and weeds along with several unidentified self-sown plants have been removed and replaced with roses.  To allow more light and sunshine to filter down the adjacent cherry tree has been crown lifted.  To prepare the bed for planting well-rotted manure and topsoil has been dug in.


A tea beak!

So many people, groups and organisations have been involved in this: many thanks to Julia and James from Wokingham Borough Council for their support and encouragement;  WBC’s contractor Quadron for the initial clearance work and crown lifting; offenders serving community payback orders under the supervision of Thames Valley Probation Service for further clearance; OCS street cleaning team for the removal of much debris and especially to Rose Street Gardeners for spreading the manure and topsoil and, of course, for planting the roses.

Many thanks to all of the passers-by last Saturday for their words of encouragement and gratitude.

Several Rose Street residents have volunteered to help look after the roses which are guaranteed to provide much pleasure over the coming months.  If you are in the neighbourhood do go and have a look.

This new planting will add to the excellent planting Rose Street residents make outside of their front doors.  In summer the roses around door and window frames are a real delight.


Cleared and planted. Roll on summer!




Apple pressing at community garden

On Sunday 21st September members of Transition Wokingham brought their apple press to the community garden by Cockpit Path.  Apples galore were pressed and much fresh juice was both drunk and taken away in bottles.

Many thanks to Transition for organising this, a great time was had by all – young and old.  Do look out for an article about the pressing in the local newspapers this week (hopefully).


Spring bulbs for Cockpit Path community garden and orchard

The mist on the fields this morning means that autumn really is just around the corner.  Transition Wokingham and its volunteer gardeners want to plant loads of daffodils, tulips and crocuses at the community garden for a fabulous display early in 2015 on the raised bank and among the perennial plants.

If anyone reading this has any spare bulbs or knows anyone who has some we would be delighted to receive them. They can be brought to the Information Centre at the Town Hall from 10am to 2pm Mondays to Fridays and from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays.  Many thanks.


Community Garden and Orchard / Norreys Garden Care Scheme: It’s Your Neighbourhood

Yesterday evening (3rd) two assessors from Thames and Chilterns in Bloom visited both the garden care scheme and the community orchard and garden to consider their progress as part of the It’s Your Neighbourhood section of Thames and Chilterns in Bloom.  In this section individual standalone projects are assessed on their own merits on a non-competitive basis.
The results will be announced at the Bloom presentation event at Henley Town Hall on 17th September.

Norreys Garden Care Scheme

Linda and Alan Newport manage this under the auspices of Transition Wokingham.  People who cannot manage their gardens allow others to tend them to grow fruit and vegetables: householders and growers share the produce.  Gardens and growers combined in the scheme number over 60.  It’s a great community based scheme…..unused gardens tended, food is produced and volunteers who garden may have social, emotional or physical problems benefit from taking part.

Community garden and orchard

After looking around the garden care scheme the assessors visited the above.  Linda and Alan and Mary Paul showed them around and explained how a piece of neglected waste ground is being turned into a lovely space for people to enjoy.  Really pleasing how a  father and his daughters from nearby saw what was happening and have taken on an area of the garden to look after – and they are enlisting help from their neighbours as well!  Since the previous post the lower limb of the horse chestnut tree has been removed, logs used to edge the paving slabs, Rebecca Reed and her Woodcraft Folk have built a deluxe bug hotel with and made a tremendous sign for it.  Special mention to Keith from Sale Garden Cottages for this work in watering the garden and as an honorary traffic warden!

Whatever the assessors say about these projects both are great success in their own right.  On behalf of Wokingham in Bloom heartfelt thanks to everyone involved.


Trip Advisor awards five stars to new hotel in central Wokingham

A brand new five star bug hotel/ hibernation tower opened at Gipsy Lane allotments orchard on Saturday 14th June.

Once permission was received from the planning authorities a great deal of reclaimed building material was assembled over the last few days and construction started promptly at 9am.  By mid-morning the hotel was open for business and awaiting its first guests.

Many thanks to Nicola from the Gipsy Lane orchard group for her concept and her energy in making it happen.  Many thanks as well to the construction crew from 1st Finchampstead Scouts.  James was the hands-on foreman, ably assisted by master craftsmen Alex, Joshua and Matthew.

Great job everyone!

The hotel is for solitary bees, butterflies, centipedes, frogs and all of their chums.  This will help with pollination on the orchard and allotments and to keep other pests and diseases in check.


Community garden and orchard

Many thanks to Linda, Alan and Mary and all of their volunteers for their hard work and commitment in transforming an area of barren land into a community garden and orchard.  The 200 square metres or so is owned by Wokingham Borough Council and can be found by Cockpit Path where it crosses the top of Howard Road.
Many thanks to Keith from Sale Garden Cottages who has undertaken  to water the plants.  It is hoped that the planting will be finished by the end of this week and that the flagstones donated by Balfour Beatty will all be laid.
A group of Woodcraft Folk will manage one section of the garden as will young uns from Sunbeam Play Group.  The raised beds will be looked after by some residents from Sale Garden Cottages.
The five apple trees for the orchard have arrived and will be planted very soon.  They are all heritage varieties with a long history of cultivation in southern England.
The garden and orchard is on the judging route for Bloom on 23rd July.  It has also been entered in Bloom’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ section as well.  This is not a competition but rather an ongoing assessment of community based projects.  Fingers crossed for everyone involved when the assessors visit in early July.
Whatever happens the group can be very proud of their efforts!

From this:

To this:


Gipsy Lane allotments is bugging out!

This coming Saturday (14th) Nicola from Gipsy Lane allotments and a group of Scouts from 1st Finchampstead led by James Dunn, are constructing a large bug hibernation tower in the community orchard at Gipsy Lane.  The materials have all been donated and/or gathered locally.  The intention is to provide excellent quarters for all types of bees and other beneficial insects.  This very much supports the 2014 Bloom theme of wildlife and conservation.
Many thanks to all involved. Please look out for the articles about this in the local press next week.


Wood chip spreading at Wokingham Superbowl

Many, many thanks to James Dunn, Scout leader, 1st Woosehill Scouts and eight members of his troop for the sterling work they did in spreading well over 50 wheelbarrow loads of woodchip among the plants by Superbowl.
They were guided, and ably assisted, by Ann Crail from Rose Street Gardeners, Wokingham Methodist Church and Jenny Gilbert from Wokingham Horticultural Association.
There were a few blisters at the end of the operation but a great deal was accomplished. on Saturday 31st May.

The wood chip has been donated by Arborfield Tree Care, Gardeneer, Gristman Tree Surgeons and Scottscape.  Many thanks to all of them for their time and trouble.

If you find yourself nearby do look out for the bee boxes Gerry Higson has put on the wall.  The recently installed information board highlights the wildlife we hope to attract.

The Scouts are turning their attention to constructing a bug hibernation tower at Gipsy Lane community orchard in the near future, in conjunction with members of the orchard group.

Many thanks to everyone involved with both projects from the Wokingham in Bloom steering group.



It’s official! the two experienced Bloom judges will visit Wokingham on Wednesday 23rd July to look at everything the town will have prepared for its entry.  Judging will commence at 10:30am and conclude with lunch for the judges shortly after 1pm.

Details of the route will be finalised over the next few days and will be publicized by blog and press release and will include a map of the whole route.

Please watch this and other spaces.


Pile of old logs hotel

Three bug hotels have recently been constructed around the town. Fortunately planning permission was not required!

One is at the planting by Wokingham Superbowl and two are at Latimer Road allotments.
These are for beneficial insects to move in to help protect and nurture the nearby flowers and vegetables.
Why not make one yourself?  There are loads of websites offering simple, straightforward advice.  Notices as above can be supplied, please email  amenities@wokingham-tc.gov.uk

Many thanks to Heartwood and Scottscape tree surgeons for the logs and to Barry Tattam for his labour.
1st Finchampstead Scouts and Gipsy Lane allotment tenants are arranging to construct a large bug hibernation tower at the allotment site in the near future.

An update about the work behind Country Cobblers will be posted very soon followed by our next newsletter.


Big strides for Bloom

Great news from the footpath by Wokingham Superbowl.  The manure has been spread and on Wednesday 9th April a band of willing volunteers planted more trees, shrubs and ground cover plants – many of which have been provided by residents.
To complete this area an information board will be installed highlighting flowers and birds to look out for; the remaining section of the Big Apple mural will be covered over with green paint, for which many thanks to Superbowl for the paint and to Thames Valley Probation Service; homes for bees and other helpful insects will be placed on the wall; once the new plants become established a good layer of wood chip will be spread around them to aid moisture retention and to suppress weed growth.  Many thanks to Arborfield Tree Care, Scottscape and Heartwood for the oceans of wood chip.
A year ago this area was just scratched and scrub land.  Thanks to the efforts of Wokingham in Bloom it is a space we can all be proud of.  Many thanks to everyone who has been involved with the work.

The volunteers have been particularly grateful for the words of encouragement and thanks from passersby.

A second large-scale project for Bloom will begin to take shape tomorrow (Sat 12th).  The area of unused land behind Country Cobblers will be cleared prior to the spreading of new topsoil.

Wokingham Horticultural Association (WHA) are holding a Bring and Buy Plant Sale on Saturday, 10th May from 10.30am to 12 noon at the Ormonde Road allotments (opposite Wokingham Hospital, Barkham Road.  If you have any spare plants (bedding, vegetables, tomatoes, perennials, small shrubs) please bring them along.  This is a good opportunity to buy reasonably priced plants, and sometimes more unusual, seasonal plants – or to donate any produce surplus to your requirements. The money raised is usually used for the Trading Store’s maintenance.


Derelict land behind Country Cobblers, Denmark Street

Walk along the footpath from Cockpit Path car park to Langborough Road and you will pass an area of unloved ground opposite the entrance to Sale Garden Cottages.  The Town Council has leased around 135 square metres from WBC. A group of volunteers led by Linda and Alan Newport and Mary Paul from Transition Wokingham will lay out a community garden and orchard.  This will include an area for people with disabilities.  A flyer calling for more volunteers was hand-delivered to Howard Road and Sale Garden Cottages this morning.

This is one of Wokingham in Bloom’s major projects…..an area for people to sit and relax in.

Photos and schematic on next post.


The Wall by Wokingham Superbowl

The wall by Wokingham Superbowl which forms the backdrop to the planting on the footpath leading from Wellington Road to the railway line crossing has had a makeover! The street art mural which has been in place for many years was cracked and flaking and clearly past its sell by date.  Eight offenders serving community payback orders took off the loose paint with scrapers and wire brushes and painted over the mural with a deep green Dulux Stormshield paint on Friday 14th March.
This was a combined effort with Thames Valley Probation Service’s Reading office.  Many thanks to placement officer Ben and on-site supervisor Annabelle.
Many thanks are also due to Jules, from Wokingham Superbowl for providing the paint and facilities for the offenders.
Many thanks to Ann Crail from the Bloom steering group for taking the photographs.
Many thanks to Gardeneer for undertaking the clearance of the ground as its contribution to the Bloom effort.
It is anticipated that some of the cleared ground will be planted over the coming weeks.  The newly painted wall will provide a much better background to the shrubs and flowers.


More fruit trees planted at Gipsy Lane community orchard

On Saturday 1st March 2014, a crisp and sunny morning, some Gipsy Laneallotment tenants planted seven fruit trees at the site.  Five apples and two pears, all heritage varieties local to Berkshire and neighbouring counties were planted.

The apple trees are:

John Standish, maiden, Berks (m106)
Lane’s Prince Albert, bush, Bucks) m106)
Cox’s Orange Pippin, bush, Berks & Bucks (m106)
Irish Peach, bush, regional (m106)
Queen Cox, bush, Berks (m106)

The pear trees are:

Conference, bush, regional (Quince A)
Beurre Hardy, bush, regional (Quince A)

The planting site near the entrance is too wet to use as allotment plots and to give the trees a good start earth mounds were built up to plant the trees in.  Nicola, Julie, Rob, Roger, John and Steve got stuck in building the mounds up and re-excavating a drainage channel.  These new trees join the seven planted last year which are all growing strongly. 

In the near future there will be apples for the table and the press!  As part of the town’s entry into Thames and Chilterns in Bloom an uncultivated piece of ground has now been used productively.
Nicola, and Mary from Transition Wokingham, have recently pruned last year’s trees and administered some tender loving care to them.
Previously some very effective drainage work was carried out by offenders serving community payback orders.

A great joint effort by everyone involved.  Many, many thanks to all.

Steve, a local press photographer, recorded the event.    Photos courtesy of Nicola.


Flower arrangements at Town Hall for the Bloom judges

The provisional judging date for our Bloom entry is Wednesday 23rd July.  Jan Nowecki, Town Clerk, has met with Sue Davenport, Wokingham Flower Club, and arranged for Sue and other Club members to create displays which draw on the Bloom theme of wildlife and conservation.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

These displays will be ready for the judges’ lunch on the 23rd in the main hall at the Town Hall.  We plan to invite townspeople to come in and admire them from the next day.

Many thanks to Sue and Wokingham Flower Club for their support.  If you are interested in finding out more about Wokingham Flower Club and what it does please email:     kr.davenport@btopenworld.com


Expansion of the community orchard at Gipsy Lane allotments

This coming Saturday 1st March 2014 will see seven new fruit trees planted near the entrance of Gipsy Lane allotments.

Many thanks in advance to allotment tenants John, Julie, Lisa, Nicola, Rob and Roger for all of their help. Thanks also to Mary of Transition Wokingham for her guidance and expertise.

Five apple trees and two pears will join the seven trees planted in March last year.  All of the varieties have come from a grower of heritage trees.  All of the trees have a long-standing link to Berkshire or surrounding counties.

The area of the allotments we are using is too wet to be used for plots but the trees have flourished in the banks of earth built up around them.  Thanks here to offenders serving community payback orders and Thames Valley Probation Service for their help in shifting a lot of soil across the site.

There will be an article and photographs in our local newspapers about the planting party.