THAMES AND CHILTERNS IN BLOOM JUDGING DATE CONFIRMED

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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The Wokingham Word

There is an excellent article in the March edition of the Word about Wokingham in Bloom.  Many thanks to Carolyn for this.  Check out the Community News on page 7.
There will be further articles in subsequent editions as we keep publicizing Bloom.

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IS ANYONE HOME?

A press release is being prepared for local media for next week’s papers.   Householders all across the town are being encouraged to provide simple homes in their gardens for birds, bats, beetles, bees and hedgehogs. Mention will be made of websites with easy to follow instructions on how to construct a bee hotel, for example.
We hope to hear from anyone who takes up the challenge – what they plan to do, have done and importantly who has moved in!
Is a webcam and link too ambitious?

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Gipsy Lane Community Orchard

A group of Gipsy Lane allotment tenants Lisa and John, Julie and Steve, Roger, Nicola and Rob met at the allotments on Saturday 1st February to plan the extension of the community orchard on an adjacent space by the seven trees planted last year.  It was decided to plant another seven young trees and to include some plum and pear varieties.  Like last year expert advice will be sought from Mary of Transition Wokingham. The target date for planting is Saturday 1st March.
If all goes to plan the orchard will comprise 14 trees.  The seven from 2013 (6 apple and one plum, all local heritage varieties) are doing well with the exception of one apple which has some damage to its bark near the ground.

Photo shows a flavour of last year’s hard work!

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New community garden and orchard

Some really positive news.  Linda and Alan Newport who run a garden share scheme in the Norreys area and Mary Paul from Transition Wokingham are working with Wokingham in Bloom to plan and create a community garden and orchard on unused land opposite the top of Howard Road and the entrance to Sale Garden Cottages.

We are actively seeking sponsorship to help pay for the clearance of the site and some or all of the plants.
Linda, Alan and Mary have produced a leaflet which will shortly be dropped in letter boxes in the nearby area encouraging residents to join the volunteers who will transform this unloved space into one we can all be proud of.
Much more information will follow as the project gathers pace.
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Crocuses to burst into Bloom

Hello!

Just before Christmas thousands of mixed-coloured crocus bulbs were planted on the five main banks below The Terrace at Shute End.  When they bloom in early spring they will provide a lovely entrance into the town from Reading Road.
This planting wouldn’t have happened but for the generous support of The Wokingham Society and Wokingham Borough Council.
WBC’s contractor Quadron is preparing a small commemorative sign at it’s own expense for the planted area.
The town’s 2014 Bloom campaign is up and running!
Photographs of the crocuses in all their glory will be taken and shown to the Bloom judges in July.

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