"Heart of England In Bloom judges' comments"
FOREWORD Heart of England in Bloom President Les Goodman The Heart of England in Bloom Committee decided to have two presentations this year. The Heart of England RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards held at the Henley-in-Arden Golf & Country Club on Thursday 6th September 2012, and the Heart of England in Bloom Campaign presentation at All Saints Church, Kings Heath on Thursday 13th September 2012. The campaign continues to go from strength to strength even in these severe financial times, with both campaigns being an opportunity for communities both large and small to get involved in non-competitive schemes to make a great change to the environment where they live, work and spend leisure time. I have always maintained that the In Bloom campaign is the best organisation to bring people from all walks of life together for the common good of the Villages, Town, Cities and Urban Communities in which they live and work. On behalf of the Heart of England in Bloom Committee I would like to thank all of the sponsors that have continued to support us and without whose help the campaign would not take place. Amey Trophy Sponsor Amberol Exhibitor Bengry Motors Supplier of Angela Pendleton’s Car for Judging Tour and Trophy Sponsor Crystal Image Supplier of Trophies and Trophy Sponsor F8 Creates Design Studio Website Host ge Views Exhibitor Modus Creative Printer NFU Mutual Sponsor of the Children’s Art Competition Plantscape Exhibitor Quadron Services Silver Sponsor The Red Door Studios Designer and AV presentations Webbs OVERALL SPONSOR Congratulations to all of the entries this year for what they have achieved and I look forward to seeing them progress in 2013. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 1 Judges, Committee Members and Assessors President: Les Goodman Chairman: Mike Garwood Vice Chairman: Roger Bache Committee: Nicola Clarke Angela Pendleton Robin Russell Ken Whittaker Trish Willetts Mark Wiltshire Secretary/Coordinator: Jenny Redfern Assessors: Fran Lee Stan Sedman Heart of England in Bloom 2012 2 Heart of England in Bloom Chairman Mike Garwood Well what a July! If you had a fine day for your judging you did very well and you were in the minority, the judges were wet most of the time but they still enjoyed the visits to old friends and some new ones for this year. All the judges and the assessors are aware of the problems with the extreme weather conditions and the ongoing financial restrictions the Country is facing, that will probably continue for some years yet. All of this is taken into consideration, and it did not dampen the spirits of you all in taking part in the campaign’s, as without you there would be no campaign at all so we thank you for that. This year there were 55 entries in Heart of England in Bloom which included some new entries such as Acocks Green Village, Burntwood, Henley in Bloom, (returning after 10 years absence), Lichfield and Pebworth in Bloom. In the Hotel and Pub Grounds Campaign there were 8 entries this year and the School Grounds entries almost doubled to a total of 40! In the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood campaign we also saw an increase from 48 in 2011 to 74 in 2012. It was good to see so many of our entries celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee – putting out flags and bunting, I think that this is something that could be done every summer it certainly brightens up many a centre and gives a summer festival feel which lifts the mood for residents and visitors. The Heart of England in Bloom Committee is grateful to the support and encouragement from entrants in welcoming new participants into all of the regional campaigns. The judges and assessors are only too happy to visit entrants or prospective entrants to offer their advice and support in moving forward. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 3 Heart of England in Bloom Main Sponsor 2010-2012 Webbs Garden Centres Webbs, the independent garden centre group, is delighted to be the main sponsor of the Heart of England in Bloom awards for the third year. Webbs is a family business with garden centres at Wychbold, near Droitwich, Worcestershire; West Hagley in the West Midlands and Ryton Gardens in Warwickshire as well as an online garden retail site. We are keen to support the communities around our garden centres and sponsorship of these awards fits perfectly with our philosophy. We believe that gardens, outdoor spaces and all that goes with them can make a huge difference to the quality of people's lives. We have been impressed with the work of Heart of England in Bloom and look forward to seeing the number of entries increasing over the next few years. We will be particularly pleased to see a Heart of England entry win in the national campaign! Well done to everyone who has taken part this year. We hope our sponsorship will encourage even more to take part in the future across the Heart of England helping create better communities for all. Ed Webb, Chairman of Webbs www.webbsdirect.co.uk Heart of England in Bloom 2012 4 Heart of England in Bloom Standards Bronze 50-59% This is considered a commendable entry meeting the sustainable standards required, and has the potential to progress to Silver award Silver 60-74% This award is for an above average entry, and has met most of the judging criteria and objectives for Britain in Bloom and has displayed the potential to progress to Silver-Gilt award Silver-Gilt 75-84% This is given to an entrant who has met the judging criteria and objectives with a very high standard throughout, and has in one or more areas been exceptionally thorough. This award is considered to be a potential Gold award winner in the future. Gold 85% and above This award is given to exceptional achievers who have demonstrated a consistently high standard in all areas of the judging criteria and objectives of Britain in Bloom. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 5 2012 Heart of England in Bloom Results Acocks Green Village in Bloom Bronze Award Urban Community Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willetts The newly formed BID team of Acocks Green has made a good start to their Bloom campaign this year, with Sandi at the helm. The planned injection of money for the new highway improvements and painting of the street furniture will help Acocks Green Village rise like the phoenix for next year. The enthusiastic team who walked the judges around the village were tingling with excitement with their development plans, together with all of the work that they have achieved so far. The judges are really looking forward to next year – a pleasing start! Areas of Achievement: Section A Many new areas of planting are being planted with sustainable plants rather than summer bedding. Some awkward areas, i.e. around the library courtyard and on the grass verges on the dual carriage are looking much improved for passing traffic It is encouraging that the local gardening volunteers have taken over prominent shrub beds and are taking ownership of their local area Section B The School we walked passed on the route and the Church at the end of it, were jewels in the crown for Acocks Green as the architecture of the buildings was impressive and both buildings had been restored sympathetically and to a high standard Section C The team have begun the work in the Village with great enthusiasm, and it would be good to grow on this with other community/partnership teams joining in the future. The recent introduction of the new BID has been a catalyst to the development and progression of plans. Aldridge in Bloom Gold Award Urban Community Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willetts As the judges arrived at Aldridge they were visually intoxicated by the new courtyard in the shopping precinct. The enthusiastic partnership team have worked together planting, polishing and sweeping every nook and cranny to take Aldridge to the next level. Many more shops, businesses and community teams have been out transforming numerous areas of the district. Thousands of bulbs have been planted and locally purchased perennial plants have been included, to help improve neglected areas. They have installed impact features, and hung several series of hanging baskets, together with some topiary planting which has enhanced the gateways to the centre. Each member of the team knew the finer details of every aspect of the past year’s developments and the forthcoming year’s plans, so that the whole route flowed from one to the other, as they ALL showed their passion for the area. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 6 Areas of Achievement: Section A The maturity of the planting in the increased number of tree planters along the High Street is looking particularly good as the local retail units are watering and maintaining them. This year these businesses have now installed their own creations at their entrances Installation of modern planters, benches and border planting with topiary designs throughout the shopping precinct has created a peaceful, classic and welcoming atmosphere to the centre The wildflower and tree planting at Anchor Meadow was impressive. New sustainable planting at the ‘Welcome’ signs. Section B Development of the wildflower meadow, tree planting and bulb planting on open spaces, together with the installation of the permanent Christmas tree on Elm island which is being maintained by the gardening volunteers The wonderful journey around the route in the Vintage Bus was delightful and added to the whole experience The determined application for Community Spaces money for The Croft Section C The team sharing their gained knowledge at the Gardeners Question and Answer session at Wheat and Son Garden Centre Business support has increased substantially and the team have developed considerably this year. Balsall Heath in Bloom Silver-Gilt Award Urban Community Judges: Michael Garwood and Angela Pendleton The tour started at the Nelson Mandela Primary School where the judges received a warm and very courteous welcome from the children. The rendition by school children of ‘Here comes the Sun’ set the scene. The introductory presentation by the children was sheer joy. Pupils from the School acted as tour guides throughout. A most uplifting tour planned to give an overview of just what can and has been achieved by the ‘harnessing of hearts and minds’ of the residents and stake holders of Balsall Heath Community, with their a focus and determination of improving their local environs and this they certainly have done! The tour ended by returning to Nelson Mandela School where the judges enjoyed a superb lunch with Patrick, Azita, staff and invited guests. Areas of Achievement: Section A The 275 self watering, coloured hanging baskets throughout the community – filled with bright coloured begonias certainly does make an impact, as does the recently erected welcome to Balsall Heath sign at Haden Way with its three tired planter The colour planting theme of the 5 Olympic Rings The year on year sustainable planting being introduced, of note particularly are the wooden planters Heart of England in Bloom 2012 7 The increased take-up of residents entering the gardening competition with its 3 categories The exciting development of the Cheddar Road Community ‘Chillie’ Garden. Section B Balsall Heath Community Farm which is very popular with the children The presentation by Christina – a Holmer Street resident and the initiative taken by West Midlands Police to join forces with the community to educate and change by example The adopted ‘open spaces’ by residents Evidence in the Portfolio of the many community recycling schemes available for food, cooking oil, paper, packaging, innovative use of scrap items for use in creating play opportunities for children, clothes swap and household goods Section C The Civic Pride that has developed throughout Balsall Heath by the community and its stake holders through the ongoing drive and commitment of Balsall Heath Forum and it successful continued commitment in entering the Heart of England in Bloom campaign The schools of Balsall Heath gardening activities using their grounds to link in to the curriculum, all driving forward the importance of the green environment and wild life The well presented Portfolio with its well thought out content and its vibrant art work Ongoing sponsorship in kind, materials and finance, in particular this year from Carillion PLC. Biddulph in Bloom Gold Award, Category Winner and 2012 Overall Winner Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire Again Biddulph lived up to and exceeded the judge’s expectations with a very high quality and quite inspirational tour. This unrelenting group lets nothing deter them in fact adversity is an inspiration to them. The judges were shown a very comprehensive presentation with last year’s bloom efforts. The excellent educational work with the local schools is evident throughout the town as are the numerous volunteer projects being undertaken, with pockets of community groups maintaining and enhancing unfinished local authority works. The floral displays planted and maintained by the bloom group throughout the town were excellent but are far too many to mention individually. The entry roundabouts are well planned and planted giving a good visual image to the entrances to the town. Particularly pleasing is the addition to the bloom group of two active youth members which will hopefully inspire others to join. Areas of Achievement: Section A Residential front gardens in New Pool Lane are excellent The tremendous improvements made by Brown Lees Residents Association The high quality floral containers throughout the town Permanent planting at the leisure centre Well planted roundabouts with a good mix of seasonal and sustainable plants The well tended grounds at Knypersley First School Heart of England in Bloom 2012 8 The Greenway WI beds The Jubilee Union Flag bed The containers planted by The Brownies Section B Brindley Ford Community Butterfly Garden The Eco projects at Knypersley First School and Kingsfield High School The increased recycling figures The renovation of the street furniture throughout the town All roundabouts are planted with insect pollinators Biddulph Grange Country Park and all of the conservation and education work Section C The addition of two young members onto the committee The excellent education work with local youth groups Engaging with the local authorities for bloom day Colossal amount of press coverage All ages are actively involved in this bloom effort Every district within the town are engaged by bloom The sale of the Biddulph in Bloom 2011 CD The incredible amount of sponsored received Bilston in Bloom Silver Gilt Award Urban Community Judges: Nicola Clarke and Angela Pendleton The judges were warmly welcomed by Town Centre Manager, Cheryl Walsh, at Bilston Craft Centre. Cheryl’s presentation brought the Judges ‘up to speed’ highlighting the impressive amount of hard work undertaken by Bilston in Bloom for this year’s entry. The judging tour began in the delightful rear gardens of the Craft Centre. The judges then walked to the open space of the Methodist Church, now totally transformed. The tour took in Bilston’s vibrant Town Centre, its themed street furniture, and colourful tiered planters. Rose Gallard told of Bilston’s’ Industrial Heritage. There were stalls manned by various Bloom groups, with enthusiastic children promoting all things in Bloom. The route continued with a stroll through the bustling covered and open markets; the new Morrison’s and finished at the exciting multi million pound Bert Williams Leisure Centre. Areas of Achievement: Section A Craft Centre Garden - Cottage style border planting with quiet areas, underpinned with mature trees. Sarah, told of the beds, planted and tendered by volunteers The Woodland Trust Jubilee hedge planted to its boundary Container planting at Cafe Metro – giving an uplifting welcome to the start of the shopping area, continuing with themed tiered planters throughout Completion of Phase 2: Bilston Methodist Church Scheme, an open tranquil and safe green space Landscaping around Morrison’s The new raised perennial border at the entrance of Bert Williams Centre The sustainable landscaping surrounding Bert Williams Leisure Centre of particular note the striking mauve Alliums Heart of England in Bloom 2012 9 Section B Providing wild life habitats by local children Woodland Trust Jubilee hedgerow planting - Bilston Craft Gallery Garden Bilston Get Growing project continues Pride in Our Patch – Heantun Housing Association initiative, together with their launch of ‘best front garden’ competition Recycling Information Display manned by its cheery and well informed staff The Metal Art throughout the shopping precinct depicting the heritage of Bilston’s industrial past Inclusion of local heritage artwork in the Morrison’s development and Bert Williams Leisure Centre Section C Use of impregnated flower seed postcards as promotional material Pumpkin and sunflower competitions Use of multi media (Twitter/face book) to promote Bilston In Bloom Working in partnership with Heantun Housing Association The National Love Your Market Campaign - merchandise promoting Bilston in Bloom! Birmingham City Council Gold Award and Category Winner Large City Judges: Mike Garwood and Trish Willetts The City of Birmingham shone with an abundance of colour, impact feature planting and community spirit as the judges were shown around. The Olympic and recycled Gold Award winning Chelsea exhibits were on display for everyone to see. As the judges walked through the route it was evident that visitors to Birmingham were extremely impressed with the many clicking cameras taking photographs of the innovative floral features. The judges would just like to send the team every good wish for their Britain in Bloom entry this year as the partnership’s approach to Bloom is the Big Society in action! Areas of Achievement: Section A The outstanding feature planting The historical information of the apple trees at the Guinea Gardens shows that the heritage of Birmingham is not just the bricks and mortar. The grafting of some ancient trees to new root stock in the new community orchard will enable future sustainability of this wonderful gem The two living walls on Special Street and at the Mail Box are great examples of taking planting to new levels The wildflower areas on the central reservations, around high rise blocks and on ‘hard to reach’ positions on the island by Centenary Square added colour and interest City centre gardens are developing well and are an oasis hidden behind the ICC Section B The Brum Reapers working with traditional tools and mentoring young people from Our Lady of Lourdes Heart of England in Bloom 2012 10 The Guinea Gardens and Moseley Bog’s historic and conservation value is priceless Local Historian, Carl Chinn’s Free Parks for the People book launch at Chelsea 2012 is a valuable piece of writing and proceeds are going back to the Parks Forum Trust so is sustaining the positive work of the team Sarehole Mill built in 1768 is being regenerated and brought back to a working mill offering a Social Enterprise opportunity and is an important survivor of the Industrial Revolution The celebration of 75 years of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is an integral part of the history of Birmingham and the Shire Country Park Housing, Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog are exquisite examples of preservation in an inner city setting Section C The Birmingham in Bloom business cards which encourage communities to go to the campaign Facebook and Twitter pages which are receiving daily interest The 147 Friends Groups now have their own Forum and Sarah Royal is travelling the country as their Chair sharing good practice The new Birmingham in Bloom logo and portfolio offers a fantastic year round look at all of the positive community and council teams working together and putting the Pride back into Birmingham Raising the City’s profile by going to RHS shows is showing benefit as all of the features are being recycled and reused The phenomenal sponsorship for many of the features The City Centre BID Groups has made a significant partnership and shows sustainability as the improvements in the environment is bringing in new businesses who are being introduced to the Bloom campaign. Bloxwich in Bloom Silver Gilt Award Urban Community Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willets What a difference 12 months has made to Bloxwich! Nikki and the team have gone from strength to strength this year. Fortnightly volunteer gardeners; public art by the Mirus Academy; handmade bespoke bunting; chalk flower drawings by Little Bloxwich Primary School; a beautiful Carnival Queen to the Friends of Bloxwich Parks; all of the plans, ideas and enthusiasm have taken the whole of Bloxwich by storm. The themed planting and dressed shop windows have encouraged local businesses to sponsor, water and sweep outside their own shops and the Bloom bug has taken a firm hold on the community. Areas of Achievement: Section A The increased number of planters, the rise in business sponsorship and sustainable planting has all lifted the High Street this year The welcoming red, white and blue themed blooms throughout the floral features have helped enhance the recent Jubilee and Olympic Torch Celebrations The Street Pride raised beds and the St. John’s Church Olympic themed beds have great impact for passing visitors Heart of England in Bloom 2012 11 The Green Fingers Social Enterprise team have made two planters at the church and the herb garden being tendered by St. Peters Primary are both helping to improve corners of the High Street that were looking neglected last year The new Community Orchard with over 535 saplings and trees has flourished with the recent rain after being planted by 7 different school groups Section B The conservation area in King George Park and the ongoing development with the Friends of Team are infectious Keep Bloxwich Tidy Campaign Window wrapping one of the most prominent vacant shops has had a positive impact to the High Street, together with the letting of two further shops which are being tastefully restored and redecorated is helping to blend the historic buildings back into the street scene The locally sourced plants from Watford Gap Nurseries in Lower Stonnall are helping keep the team’s carbon footprint low Section C The new Bloxwich in Bloom logo is classic and with over 1,100 entries is a positive way of spreading the Bloom campaign to the young community of Bloxwich Bloxwich Business Partnership becoming a constituted Social Enterprise – Community Interest Company – allowing them to apply for external funding more easily Equality and diversity in groups of new Bloom volunteers and members, i.e. the Green Fingers, Princes Trust, Churches, local schools, Rotarians, businesses and Local Authority teams are working so well in partnership – this is having a significant impact. Bridgnorth Town Council Gold Award Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mike Garwood Bridgnorth on a beautiful sunny day- what a place to be! The judges were welcomed by the Mayor and Town Clerk at College House and after an informative presentation went on a tour around the town. This is Bridgnorth’s second returning year to Bloom and they have made the most of the last year to take on the judges’ comments and come to the high standard they have achieved today. The walk down the High Street and West Castle Street with all its colourful baskets and containers was a delight. The Castle Grounds were well maintained and the views from here are breathtaking. The tour then went to the quayside and the bridge with yet more baskets, then onto the Cemetery to see the new Memorial Garden and wildlife conservation area. This was the end of a very enjoyable day in Bridgnorth and we recommend a visit. Areas of Achievement: Section A Hanging baskets on the bridges, quayside and in the Town Centre Tudor Room and Old Castle Pub Well planted Castle Grounds, lots of colour and well maintained Improved planting at the Cemetery Section B New recycling centre Heart of England in Bloom 2012 12 Excellent heritage Severn Valley Railway, Castle and the Town Hall Very clean and tidy town Cemetery grounds being maintained to encourage wildflowers and wildlife Section C Evidence of events throughout the year Plans for the future are exciting and we look forward to seeing them come to fruition A good cross section of partners and sponsors Monthly local publication letting people know what’s going on. Bromyard in Bloom Silver-Gilt Award Small Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire The first judging tour for this year started on a damp cloudy day but with spirits high. And again the now obligatory bacon sandwich! The well tended Old Vicarage complex and the gardens at Schallenge Walk were a good example of seasonal and sustainable planting working well together. The Town Centre was again well adorned with a large number of baskets, troughs and tubs with a red, white and blue theme to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The conservation area alongside the riverbank is still well used and it was good to see that the free wildflower seeds from the RHS were used at the excellent Community Garden. The impressive amount of sponsorship certainly does help make Bromyard a more attractive town. The judges did not get to sample the new beer, maybe next year!!! Areas of Achievement: Section A The quality of the hanging baskets throughout the Town Centre Floral containers on Schallenge Cottage Residential gardens at Schallenge Walk The Tanyard courtyard The tubs and herbaceous border at the Old Vicarage complex The community Allotments at Mundersfield - feeding the lunch club Sustainability of the Town Centre planters incorporating vegetables and herbs for the residents The Queens Arms containers Section B Wildflower mix at the community allotments Introduction of Owl boxes Complete lack of litter and graffiti The use of peat free compost in the floral containers Recycling of the seasonal bedding Riverside picnic area Well maintained Cemetery The extraction of river water for the allotments Section C The successful clean up Sunday Very impressive amount of sponsorship and fundraising in cash and in kind The use of the community bus Heart of England in Bloom 2012 13 Very impressive portfolio The play area at Kempson Players designed and maintained by local children The new beer “Blooming marvellous” in recognition of Bromyard in Bloom Brownhills in Bloom Silver Award Urban Community Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willetts The Brownhills partnership team have been forging new links and building on their Bloom plans over the last 12 months. Positively there has been an increase in new businesses coming to the High Street, as all 15 shops in the Parade have now been taken up. The local support for the supply and maintenance of the barrier planters by Paul at the Plant Shop is really encouraging, showing how sponsorship and community involvement are key to the success of Brownhills in Bloom. A highlight of the visit for the judges this year has been the partnership approach to resolving issues on the gateway at the Miners Island end of the High Street, which really has made a significant improvement to visitors and residents alike. A job well done! Areas of achievement Section A The allotment kitchen garden at Watling Street School is a credit to the gardening club and school – in fact the Judges have encouraged the school to enter in the Heart of England in Bloom School Grounds Campaign in its own right next year! The wild flower garden at Millfield School has flourished and sits very comfortably behind the natural willow fence and next to the canal Symmetrical planting of the birch trees on the Miners Island, together with the barrier and tower bedding planters now offers a welcoming impact as visitors enter the High Street The bulb planting, Park View centre planting and wildflower beds really have helped this area of Brownhills move to the next level Section B There is definitely a new pride in Brownhills as the team have organised several community events bringing the local people together - The Big Tidy week last autumn was a complete success when shops, residents and volunteers came together for a week to paint the shop fronts, clear litter and put out new planters. A fantastic initiative with a positive outcome. Even Tesco are showing signs of improvement to their site which is offering renewed enthusiasm to the team Section C Year on year more volunteers and teams are joining the In Bloom campaign, which is offering funding, sponsorship and inclusion. Teams are clearly working together. The churches are organising joint events, the schools are working more closely together and the Partnership is growing in strength The tree planting down the alleyway from the car park area to the High Street, where trees have been planted to offer a more softer and welcoming walkway for visitors to the area The bulb planting next to the Park View Centre The donation of paint from a local store for the ‘welcome’ sign at the far end of the High Street Heart of England in Bloom 2012 14 Burntwood Silver Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire A very warm welcome into the Bloom Campaign is given to this first time entrant. A very well organised garden and schools competition underpins this entry and has been the catalyst in joining the main campaign. There were some very impressive residential gardens, communal gardens as well as Princes Park the smallest park in Britain. All of the businesses entering the local competition continued the colour theme for the year throughout the town. The roundabout sponsorship scheme is thriving; this along with the Burntwood in Bloom calendar brings in much needed revenue. The work by COGS at the Community Hall is quite inspiring. Despite only forming in April this was a very good first attempt and shows great promise for the future. Areas of Achievement: Section A Numerous residential front gardens; of note were those of Mr and Mrs Littlers and Mr and Mrs Sorrol Hanging baskets and permanent planting at Wych Elm pub The sustainable planting at St Anne’s Church The well maintained grounds of the Burntwood Institute by the Cherry Orchard Gardening Service Barrier troughs at Rawlings Tyres Section B The improvement and exciting plans for Coulter Lane Burial ground The heritage trail advertised around the Town with the blue plaques Sankeys Corner Arts Miners Project, SCAMP The willow arches at Highfield Primary school The increased recycling sites and improving numbers Public art by the Morph4us team Section C The schools competition is well supported The amount of press coverage received is very good The shop window posters highlighting Bloom efforts A large amount of sponsorship is being achieved The two garden competitions The Burntwood in Bloom calendar Burton in Bloom Gold Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood The tour began at Stapenhill Cemetery with a very informative presentation and update as to what has been achieved over the past year. This was followed by a somewhat extended visit to BUDS Community Nursery where both judges purchased some plants from their excellent collection – it is no wonder the nursery is so popular with the local community! The very quirky floral display on the former Barsgate shopping Heart of England in Bloom 2012 15 centre site created in partnership with contractors, staff from Stapenhill Gardens, BUDS and the Green Spaces Team was splendid. The excellent Brizlincote Floral Projects by the WI and flower beds in St Peter’s Church Garden were fabulous examples of how local community’s love where they live and take pride in their surroundings to the extent that they are willing to help with their maintenance. The judges were very impressed with the innovative Exemplar Property project. The energy efficient/environmentally friendly converted terrace house is a wonderfully pro-active and effective way to educate the general public and to raise environmental awareness. The bedding in the terraces at Stapenhill Gardens looked colourful and resplendent, as ever. The visit finally ended with a truly fascinating tour of the National Brewery Centre – the highlight of which was the mini tour of Burton Town Centre in a carriage drawn by Charlie the Shire horse. Areas of Achievement: Section A Vibrant bedding at Stapenhill Gardens Diamond Jubilee and Burton In Bloom carpet beds Hanging baskets ‘The Bargates Job’ floral feature Continued planting of spring bulbs Section B Local Brewing Heritage – particular the National Brewery Centre and Charlie the Shire Horse Exemplar Property project is very commendable Introduction of dual on street recycling bins Sending street sweepings to SITA facility for composting Conservation management on the wetlands Section C BUDS Community Nursery Brizlincote Valley Floral displays and shrub maintenance by the WI group – We very much look forward to seeing how the proposed partnership with Violet Way Academy develops and progresses. St Peter’s Church Garden volunteers Corporate volunteering by local business – Molson Coors and Boots Use of facebook and other media as a communication tool Working in joint collaboration with The National Brewery Centre who will be hosting the lunch for the Brighter Borough Garden Competition Both judges would like to commend Charlotte Killick for her commitment and enthusiasm to both Heart of England and Burton in Bloom. We wish her all the very best and hopes she enjoys her maternity leave. Claverley in Bloom Gold Award Village Judges: Angela Pendleton and Robin Russell Judges were greeted by the school head Alice Middleton and children who presented them with samples of their home grown potatoes. The presentation followed and set the scene for the Claverley Judging Route. Pupils, Haydn and Jo took the judges to their vegetable plots and flower beds walking through the delightful Community Heart of England in Bloom 2012 16 Orchard to the Forest School, then on through the interesting alleys to the Village Hall. Peter provided the transport, driving the judges to view outlining areas; of particular note is the Claverley’s flag ship tree planting project Aston Road and the areas of Neighbourhood Improvement Initiative. The judges walked through Claverley’s main street finishing in the Church grounds. Areas of Achievement: Section A The two newly installed stone planters colourfully planted with petunias with a colour scheme of red, white and blue, placed at the seating area in the Bull Ring. The various hanging basket displays throughout the village with bunting hanging across the main street gave a sense of festivity and celebration in this special year. The village shop frontage themed in celebrating the Queens’s Jubilee The fabulous begonia displays The Village signs renovated with the addition of a Crown, with their tiered planters, with petunias, themed colours for the Jubilee The sustainable planting initiative particularly to the grounds of Church Yard The increasing number of trees being planted throughout Claverley – the 15 specimen trees planted on Aston Lane Bank an important an ongoing project of Claverley in Bloom. The planting 50 whips of native tree species by the School Daffodil bulb planting – in 2011 over 4000 were planted by the community Section B The commitment of CIB to develop and support wildlife Peat free compost Community Orchard Litter free streets The local history display at the Village Hall Section C An impressive and detailed portfolio of recordings of events throughout the year Involving school children, the further development of their raised beds for growing vegetables and wild flowers. The CIB Neighbourhood Improvement Initiative – involving more members of the community in greening up projects The increased number of residents participating in the hanging basket competition CIB’s ongoing support in kind and funding is noteworthy The well produced and informative Portfolio – with the Claverley in Bloom Mission Statement ‘To preserve and build on the features of our village that we value and to make sustainable improvements that enhance the environment and ecology of the area, ensuring a long term legacy for the whole community’. This Claverley in Bloom are most certainly doing, through their ongoing all year round programme linked to the three core areas of assessment in the Heart of England in Bloom campaign. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 17 Colwich and Little Haywood in Bloom Silver-Gilt Award Large Village Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker We were once again welcomed at the Parish Office and if the team gets any bigger we will have to start sitting outside - we are glad to see this entry is going from strength to strength. The beautiful hanging baskets that adorned the Parish Office were made locally. It was good to see the village children involved with this year’s poster completion. This entry is getting to grips with the campaign in a big way and will go far so keep up the good work. Areas of Achievement: Section A The well maintained private front gardens The Jubilee Oak Tree grown by a Local farmer from one of his tree’s planted in the Jubilee playing fields The well cared for playing fields The Colwich rail crash Memorial garden now well established maintained by a group of local railway enthusiasts Section B The absence of litter and well maintained roadsides The links with locals events Colwich Church of England Primary School maintain the Founders Grave Wolsey Bridge wildlife Area The well-used recycling facility Section C Sponsorship and help from the local community mostly in kind For such a small village there is a lot going on from the open gardens to the local Village show everyone seems to be well informed with the help of the village newsletter and the Parish Magazine. Coventry in Bloom Gold Award Large City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood This year’s tour started at the Novotel Hotel, where after a presentation, the judges travelled in style in new electric cars down the Olympic torch route towards the City centre, taking in the floral footballers, Olympic themed barrier boxes and banners along the way. Lady Herbert’s Garden was the first port of call where the judges admired the continuing development of the perennial borders. This year Coventry University expanded its vegetable container garden by incorporating a whole series of raised beds by the newly built Student Hub Building. These were bursting with colourful vegetables, herbs and scented flowers – from beans, borage and sweet peas and looked terrific. The redevelopment of Broadgate has given the City centre a real wow factor which not only opens up the public space, but provides a better view of the floral feature bed and also safer pedestrian access. The floral displays and sustainable plantings at Greyfriars Green has benefitted from re-development and the removal of Heart of England in Bloom 2012 18 the underpass. Thanks to the work of Mr Thaker, Coventry station looked its usual ‘blooming’ self. At Memorial Park the completed restoration work was reviewed. In the City of Peace and Reconciliation the park has successfully achieved the balance of providing a unique green space for solitude and reflection, whilst catering for the new generation with natural play areas. The wildflower meadows sown in the newly constructed Halls of Residence at Warwick University illustrate how ‘natural’ plantings really do have long-lasting aesthetic value as well as being incredibly important in supporting local biodiversity. The tour ended at Whoberley Hall Primary School where the judges were greeted by the amazing Mrs Brock and her dedicated young gardening team and shown the beautiful and productive school garden which included a forest school complete with a bird hide. Mrs Brock’s and the children’s enthusiasm for their garden was certainly infectious – so much so that even the sun decided to make a very rare appearance to help round off a very enjoyable visit. Areas of Achievement: Section A Lady Herbert’s Garden and Alms Houses Coventry Station Floral displays in Greyfriars Green Floral Olympic Footballers Sustainable plantings on roundabouts and at Greyfriars Green Innovative and exemplary mixed vegetable and scented plant borders at Coventry University Section B Completion of restoration work within Memorial Park Use of electric vehicles New wildflower plantings in ditches around new halls of residence at Warwick University Compost give-away scheme Re-routing of traffic and new landscape scheme at Broadgate Re-development of access from the station to the City Centre at Greyfriar’s Green Incorporation of Bug Houses within the vegetable planting scheme at Coventry University Section C Continuing consultation process with the local community Memorial Park – the innovative use of a sand surface to secure funding for the new play area Whoberley Primary School Garden Project Friends of Canley Green Spaces Care 4 Your Area Project Continued support of Coventry Business Improvement District. Darlaston in Bloom Silver Award Urban Community Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willetts Once again the judges could see immediately that Diane Mansell and her team are still working hard, moving this area forward to achieve greater things. The gloomy weather Heart of England in Bloom 2012 19 didn’t help the judging tour, but the brightness of everyone we spoke to cheered the day. The tour began at the newly planted ‘Christmas Tree’ bed, followed by the spectacle of the fabulous new shop-frontages, then on to the lovely, smart and colourful front gardens along St Lawrence Way. The opening-up of the car-park shrubberies has made great inroads into lightening and tidying the whole area. Well done team! Keep up the good work. Areas of Achievement: Section A The multitude of hanging-baskets now sported and cared-for by the local businesses Accord Housing Associations’ planted tubs and hanging-baskets The Owen Mural and gardens Darlaston Town Halls’ colourful flower-beds Section B The ten barrier-planters have made a colourful welcoming gateway into the Town Centre Having discovered some elderly lamp-post hanging-basket fittings, whilst clearing an overgrown area, the team proceeded to refurbish and plant them up to startling effect The clean-up campaigns in fourteen areas with sixty-six volunteers as been remarkably successful Litter and dog-fouling issues are ongoing but are now minimal Graffiti artists have taken over where once there were ‘taggers’, self-policing in progress, great Section C The week long clean up event was a great success and involved a huge number of volunteers Businesses are now taking ownership of their Town, not just their ‘frontages’ Contacts on facebook and twitter let the Town know ‘what’s on’ More coverage in ‘the press’ puts Darlaston on the map. Dursley in Bloom Silver-Gilt Award Small Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire The sun didn’t shine but the town of Dursley itself certainly, did what a wonderfully clean and bright place. The new planters outside a very pleasing Sainsbury’s store, well planted and tended older planters and some quite special hanging baskets at the market place really lifted the town. The growing Bloom committee have even planted out the Lloyds Bank previously neglected car park. (We can feel a Grounds Maintenance tender here!) Dursley Bowling Club was yet again a delight and appeared to be reverting to its origins, a boating lake. Dursley in Bloom is a success story, liveried litter pickers, a portfolio of professional proportions, Lions Recycling Scheme, Dursley CE School and even Gertrude, don’t ask! Areas of Achievement: Section A Magnificent floral baskets at the Market Hall Attractive planters outside and opposite Sainsbury’s store Heart of England in Bloom 2012 20 Quality of sustainable planting and its enhancement by self-set marigolds from last year Some lovely residential gardens, there must be more too? The wonderful displays achieved by Nikki Seville at Champions Court Request for bulb donations by Bloom and there subsequent planting at the cemetery, a classic example of no cost but huge endeavour The award winning gardens of the May Lane Dr’s Surgery Section B A lovely clean and graffiti free Town Centre New recycle bins; the work of Sainsbury’s store and information on recycling figures really enhanced this entry Rednock School ticked so many boxes here, a real asset Unique traffic bollards referring to the Lister heritage Rivers Mill pond, a wildlife haven enriched by a resident installing floating, nay, anchored duck houses that have been tenanted already Not sure if there are bats in the belfry but there is a colony at Dursley Bowling Club which is being helped with the provision of nest boxes Section C The judges see a real difference in the Town via the work done by the newly formed Bloom group; you are all to be congratulated The establishment of Bloom as a Registered Charity The joint working with Pay Back Teams and Bloom at the Golden Wall achieved a massive impact visually. How many people in Dursley know how it was achieved? Time to ‘Blow your own Trumpet’ The wonderful Dursley Sculpture Trail with all its different uses. Whilst there are no marks for the content/style of the portfolio this very profession volume did exactly what it was designed to do and really got your Bloom message across to the judges. Eardisland in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Small Village Judges: Angela Pendleton and Robin Russell The presentation and start of tour was held at the recently renovated St Mary’s Church. Greeted warmly by Phil, Barry and Beryl, the tour commenced in the Church Interior, of note was the newly installed stone flooring. In the grounds judges noted the improved maintenance programme and replenished Biblical Herb Garden. The judges were then driven to the delightful gardens of Wisteria Cottage, after a brief tour and on returning to the village, the judges were shown the War Memorial and garden, the Village Shop its Dovecote above, and the grounds, all run by volunteers. By car the judges viewed the main street, flanked by charming black and white cottages and its two Village Pubs before arriving at the new children’s allotment. Ben Woodcock gave an overview of work in progress. Returning to the village, the tour ended at the Village Hall. Areas of Achievement: Section A The gardens of Sue and David Wallis at Wisteria Cottage – inspirational, well maintained, a plants mans garden (part of the Open Gardens Scheme) The grounds of St Mary’s Church the Biblical Herb Garden Heart of England in Bloom 2012 21 Maintenance work to Church grounds The AA Garden – maintained by a local family The Village shop – its communal herb bed with lovingly maintained green areas to the riverside Continuous year on year programme of spring bulb planting Section B The River Arrow - water used for water butts at village shop St Mary’s Church – its interior renovation, the interesting and enthusiastic overview enthused by Beryl and Barry and the exciting prospect for use as community hub for musical /theatrical performances AA Box a well kept land mark of bygone times Eardisland War Memorial maintained to an exacting standard Virtually litter free local environs and the continuous programme of street furniture cleansing and painting programme by the ‘E team’ led by Phil Millard and residents of Eardisland Section C The well produced and informative portfolio – giving detail of events and ongoing programmes The two organised ‘Meet the Bees’ educational days for children and adults given by Keith Mitchell Whiteboard in Village shop for recording/up date of various species of bird sightings, adds as further dimension as does the identified and produced list of fish in River Arrow. The regular village updates of ‘Eardisland in Bloom’ in Hereford Times and Eardisland Parish Magazine and Village Notice Boards The obvious community spirit and civic pride of the folk of Eardisland – it was a joy to meet with so many members of the community – especially Derek Wareham stalwart of Eardisland in Bloom who has been honoured by being appointed life time President of Eardisland in Bloom The funding programme – £750 Community Grant for the children’s allotment, together with support ‘in kind’ given by residents and local businesses, tools, compost bin, green house to name but a few! The successful appeal to local businesses for sponsorship at £320 The Village Shop its successful community grant of £750 Plant and Seed Swap Oak Planters – donated by Border Oak. Evesham Silver-Gilt Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire Evesham’s re-entry into the campaign last year after several years of absence was most welcome, clearly the work of Diane Raphael, rightly described as Evesham’s dynamo. It is a pretty market town with the wonderful green flag 'Abbey Park' and some lovely floral displays especially outside the Almonry. Heritage in abundance here from the Abbey and Battle of Evesham site to the Whalebone Arch at Workman Gardens. The river such an integral part of the town is a delightful resource, although the parks officer probably wouldn’t agree as her horticulture was seen floating away. This is an Heart of England in Bloom 2012 22 improvement on last year a well-deserved Silver Gilt Award. Areas of Achievement: Section A The tower planters on traffic roundabouts were certainly large, well planted and had impact Several businesses had some outstanding floral baskets and troughs, notably Allchurch Bailey and the Northwick Hotel Carpet bedding and floral bed beds outside the Almonry were very attractive. Voluntary planting work at Evesham Railway Station was of a professional standard and really ‘lifted’ the station The efforts of the residents at Yates Court Retirement Home not only rewarded the individual participant personally but brightened the whole area for everyone Verges and open green space were of a neat and tidy appearance Section B The wildflower meadow at Waterside immediately adjacent to a busy road and river was incomparable The hobby, nay obsession of John Phipps’s (actually ably supported by Mrs Phipps too) at Abbey Manor and the site of the Battle of Evesham Obelisk Generally clean and tidy The introduction of new recycling bins throughout the Town Solar powered Christmas Tree decorations Section C Nine Evesham Schools are involved with Bloom in one form or another with each being presented with 100 plug plants early in the season to kick start their individual projects The threat to the income stream from sponsored roundabouts last year has been rectified Production of an excellent DVD of Evesham in all its seasons and subsequent sales the proceeds of which go to local charity. Good local, garden and basket Bloom entries judged by the Town Council. Haughton Silver Gilt Award Village Judges: Angela Pendleton and Robin Russell The judges received a very warm welcome from Derek and Peter together with many members of Haughton community. Peter gave an overview of HIB’s activities, with splendid pictorial laminates as supporting evidence. The judges liked the analogy of HIB as ‘a football team’ their various positions, highlighting their strengths and their contribution to this year’s entry Peter’s flare and humour made this presentation enjoyable and informative, with no ‘own goals’! It set the scene for Haughton’s entry! With refreshments of fresh cream cakes and tea, the judges fuelled with expectation and anticipation, the whistle was blown and the HIB judging route commenced. A well organised route gave the judges a delightful and interesting overview of Haughton village which is well cared for, has civic pride in abundance and is cherished by its proactive and inclusive community! Areas of Achievement: Heart of England in Bloom 2012 23 Section A The planters outside the village hall, themed red white and blue The residential front gardens of Haughton – many are vibrant, bold, and innovative in their individual planting schemes and certainly give a wow factor. Of special mention are the front gardens of Bert Moore with his keen eye to detail and exacting standard of maintenance and his confident use of colour! The nine village bedding schemes to Newport Road The Ash Tree and surrounding planting Totem Pole (best kept village award) with its appropriate planters The Church of St Giles – maintained lawns to its frontage The shopping area, with retailers own individual planters, of note here, the particular high standard of street cleanliness – no litter Planting to The Bell The well maintained Jim Jarvis Playing Field Section B The newly installed wild flower garden with its particular attention to wild life habitat such as log piles, water, and bird boxes Litter free streets Provision of bags and bins for dog waste Welcome embroidered banner to St. Giles Church highlighting herbs The programme of street and furniture maintenance carried out by volunteers Section C Successful and ongoing local ‘Best Kept Garden’ competition has certainly raised the challenge The interpretation board to Natural Wild life area in grounds of St Giles. St. Giles School children’s art work to design and draw a poster competition, depicting and encouraging the cessation of anti social behaviour i.e. dog fouling, litter - 120 entries! Oak Parish Notice Board Winner of best Kept Village in Staffordshire 2011 The use of the Heart of England in Bloom logo – on all signage, especially sponsorship boards and promotion material Following discussions and consultations with the young folk of Haughton, ascertaining what they wanted and needed for their recreation activities. Funding applications and grants driven by the Parish Council and managed by Cllr. Derek Warbrick saw the successful funding of £60K for new play ground equipment Trim track for the adults is now in hand! Heart of England Newport in Bloom Gold Award Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire As always the judges received an extremely warm welcome, from the Town Criers to the local school children reciting their poetry. The tour started on foot and the cleanness of the Town soon became apparent, the sweeping and weeding is all done by the volunteers. The bloom committee have again been working tirelessly seeking volunteers to help create new and existing areas, in particular the restoration project at Heart of England in Bloom 2012 24 Adams Grammar School being quite spectacular and the very appropriate Jubilee carpet bed. Resource management featured highly this year with ‘The Worm Farm’ at the cemetery and the award winning Newport Junior School Eco Project. The route was marshalled with military precision and spirits were never dampened despite the appalling weather! Areas of Achievement: Section A Jubilee bed designed and maintained by volunteers Cheney Hill herbaceous border is developing very well Hanging baskets on Shakespeare’s Inn Grounds at Combat Stress Newport Junior School’s Jubilee bed The recently restored grounds of Newport Grammar School, again by volunteers Section B Newport Junior School Eco projects Swift boxes for the displaced Swifts from the renovated church Wildflower planting in Victoria Park and also on all of the ring road roundabouts The worm farm in the Cemetery The Guildhall herb garden The complete absence of litter etc. in the streets cleaned entirely by volunteers Section C The expansion of the bloom committee Increase in voluntary work The sheep bed project with the grounds of the Grammar School The tree planting at Church Aston by the volunteers The extremely well read poems by pupils from Newport Junior School The excellent work at Combat Stress Henley in Bloom Silver Gilt Award Small Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire A warm welcome back into the campaign after a 10 year absence. The walking tour started with the judges being shown the floral features on both commercial and residential properties, far too many to mention individually. The highly visible watering van was used to transport the judges around the final parts of the route, which took in even more high quality residential gardens and the primary school. Even the keenest gardener would find the allotment site a challenge with its limited access. Numerous events are held each year to help increase sponsorship this is a very active and well organised committee who are obviously enjoying themselves as well as making Henley a much nicer town to live in, the oldest member being 95 years young!! Even the appalling weather could not dampen the spirits of the committee and its band of volunteers!! Areas of Achievement: Section A The large number of containers throughout the High Street Whitehouse Mews Gardens The Guild Hall Gardens beautifully maintained Heart of England in Bloom 2012 25 Permanent planting on Prince Harry Drive Excellent baskets on Hemming Court Very neat and tidy grass verges in Arden Road Seasonal and permanent planted borders in by the volunteers Arden Road The removal of the epicormic growth on the Lime trees The quite unique allotment site The annual hanging basket competition Section B The recent renovation of The Parish Pool The introduction of the new self watering barrier planters in The High Street The Heritage Centre, although a visit inside would have been welcome Well maintained railings at the Market Cross Complete absence of dog foul, litter and graffiti The litter pickers along the route, even in this appalling weather Section C The garden in a tray Primary school competition The donated mini bus used for watering, highly decorated The amount of sponsored raised The very well organised water rota, something that other groups could learn from A very good DVD showing the competition winners. Hereford in Bloom Silver Gilt Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood Having braved one of the wettest July drives ever, the judges were very warmly welcomed to Hereford at Wyevale Nurseries where, following a refreshing cup of tea and presentation, the tour commenced with a short trip around this outstanding Nursery. This was followed by an informative tour of the delightful natural play and sensory gardens at Widemarsh Children’s centre, the judges were then shown Holmer School and the new internationally renowned Skate Park. Holmer Allotment Site boasts two of the most amazing plots that either of the judges had ever seen – well deserving of the prize for ‘best allotment in Hereford’. The highlight of the tour was being driven in a Chinese pedicab to meet with the Friends of Castle Green and view the excellent Diamond Jubilee carpet bedding. Hereford Cathedral and the Cloisters garden and the now completed Lady Arbour really are Hereford’s Jewel in the Crown, not only fit for a Queen, but a beautiful and tranquil green space for all to enjoy right in the heart of the City. The tour ended with a visit to the Model Railway adjacent to the Waterworks Museum. This group are to be applauded for the work that they undertake training youngsters in their engineering and woodworking trades. We enjoyed the train ride very much. Areas of Achievement: Section A Queen’s Jubilee carpet bedding Barrier boxes on central reservations on main arterial roads Sustainable planting at Castle Green (Friends bed) Additional hanging baskets within the Town Centre Section B Heart of England in Bloom 2012 26 River Wye Embankment Management Plan in conjunction with Wildlife Trust Completion of Cathedral Garden refurbishments and management of local heritage School painting competition of the Hereford Bull – used to cover the boarding’s of the new redevelopment site Section C Partnership working with Wyevale Nursery Cathedral Garden volunteers Friends of Castle Green Friends of Model Railway and their training scheme for young people Widemarsh Children’s Centre Hillmorton in Bloom Silver Award Small Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire Although in the small town category Hillmorton has a very English village feel about it, with the longest village green in Britain at its heart. Again the Village Greens Association has been very busy edging the paths and removing the epicormic growth, which professionals would be proud of! This along with the bulb and tree planting is improving this entry year on year. Some very well manicured residential gardens, all of the pubs adding floral features and the sponsored baskets add to this idyllic location. The addition of two well used recycling points is encouraging and it will be interesting to see the progress of the Escape Youth project at Rogers Hall next year. The walking tour finished with a short trip to see the oversubscribed allotments. Areas of Achievement: Section A Well maintained hanging baskets Hanging baskets at The Red Lion Very vibrant floral trees Well maintained village green Removal of epicormic growth by the Village Green Association Autumn bulb and tree planting Duffy Place allotments Section B Extremely well swept clean streets Complete absence of litter The refurbishment of the War Memorial The replacement of the old street bollards Section C Litter picks by school children Tree planting in the High Street copse Escape Youth Project at Rogers Hall The use of the community payback scheme The production of the Hillmorton Village Greens Associations leaflet All of the hanging baskets are sponsored. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 27 Kings Heath Floral Trail Silver Gilt Award Urban Community Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood The judges were welcomed to Kings Heath at Fox Hollies School and after an informative presentation were shown around the school grounds by the students. The tour then went on to Highbury Park, past well-established baskets and boxes; in the park the natural play area and the Community Orchard were views. At Kings Heath Park there were newly planted wildflower areas, together with a new Conservatory Cafe. After a quick visit to the allotments the judging tour arrived at the very impressive new Village Square, a walk down the vibrant High Street to see the improvements that have taken place before finishing in York Road at the Kitchen Garden Café after seeing the new Walk of Fame. Areas of Achievement: Section A Baskets and Barrier boxes well covered with plants Two new floral displays at the Village Square and York Road Highbury Park flora and fauna Highbury Park Community Orchard, the on going work is impressive Natural Play area New wild flower areas will be a bonus when we get some sun. Section B Good areas of Conservation and biodiversity Very clean and tidy for a very busy High Street The completion of the new Village Square is very impressive Low vacancy rate for shops below the national average The business recycling scheme The enthusiastic students from Camp Hill Boys School – using the initiative from Envision they not only litter picked the streets of Kings Heath they have also produced pieces of Art Work from their pickings, how good is that! Big improvement on the condition of shop fronts Having a Town Centre Manager paid for by the BID Section C The Friends groups at Kings Heath Working with the local schools and other groups Funding that comes from the BID. Year round events The new Walk of Fame in York Street Leamington in Bloom Gold Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire It is very pleasing to see Leamington back to the standards of yesteryear! The committee are working extremely hard to get all sections of the community actively involved in Bloom. The new sustainable planting along The Parade works well alongside the well planned seasonal bedding. The entry is underpinned by the volunteers from the most floral train station in Britain, the award winning GALS at The Dell through to the Heart of England in Bloom 2012 28 nature project at Campion School well supported by the students. Heritage is well highlighted and the restoration of the Linden Arches is a gem. The tour took in the lovely tree lined avenues and concluded at the jewel in any towns crown Jepson Gardens, with its mix of seasonal and permanent planting, mature trees and the recently introduced bee hive. Areas of Achievement: Section A The courtyard garden of Restaurant 23 The new sustainable planting along The Parade The hanging baskets throughout the Town Centre supplied by the bid Mr Tomlinson’s garden, a riot of colour The ever improving floral displays at the station by the Friends of Leamington Station The grounds at Whittle Court residential Home, quite outstanding Section B The wildflower planting of the sponsored roundabouts The restoration of the Linden Arches The Sedum roof in the excellent nature reserve at Campion School The very clean and well used recycling centre Asda The use of self watering hanging baskets conserving water The water conservation project at Campion School The historical Dell The Mayors hybrid car The very attractive and well used Pump room Section C The Geranium train project is as strong as ever The Open Gardens scheme The very well supported garden competitions The amazing diversity of allotment holders The new planting project at The Sydni Centre which is having a very positive effect on the community The successful work done by The Bid initiative The very much improved publicity material and press coverage including the radio on the day The increased sponsorship Ledbury in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire On a gloriously sunny day the tour started on foot taking in the superb hanging baskets on the Fire Station and St Katherine’s Hospital. This year’s theme was “Going for Gold” in recognition of the Olympics drawing record crowds to watch the torch relay. Although the largest sponsor pulled out, the group have managed to acquire increased funding, which is to be admired. The Town Crier “Bill the Bell” greeted the judges as they continued onto the historic council offices. As is now the norm, the Alvis picked up the judges to conclude the tour taking in John Masefield School, the railway station to view the sensory beds and onto the now compulsory sausage tasting at Waller’s with his Heart of England in Bloom 2012 29 superb hanging baskets. All ages are again being encouraged and this year a new group are the Busy Bees with their wildflower garden. Excellent press coverage is giving the group the good publicity that they deserve. Areas of Achievement: Section A St Catherine’s Hospital hanging baskets Retained Fire Station hanging baskets The wonderfully relaxing Walled Garden Waller’s Butchers hanging baskets Orme and Slade troughs Hanging baskets on the Feathers Hotel Dawes Court front gardens Hanging baskets on The Town Council Offices The maturing Millennium Walk permanent planting Section B Very impressive amount of work being carried out by students at John Masefield School Busy Bees wildflower garden Woodside Lodges conservation award B &Q waste scheme Increased volumes of recycling Complete absence of dog foul, litter and fly posting Total refurbishment of the wooden barrels Section C The bloom group are spreading the “bloom word” well within and beyond Ledbury An impressive amount of positive press and media coverage The introduction of a new GCSE course at John Masefield School for environmental studies Excellent interaction with all age groups The increasing number of volunteer groups helping the entry, far too many to mention individually The introduction of the Ledbury in Bloom Diamond Award Increased number of sponsors Very informative portfolio. Leominster Silver-Gilt Award Town Judges: Mike Garwood and Trish Willetts Despite some set backs the team at Leominster are fighting back. On a refreshingly sunny afternoon the judges were taken to the Co-Op where they were met by the sound of a steel band, from there they were shown the wonderful window displays that were evident in the majority of the shops in the Town Centre. The art competition was inspiring as local schools had joined in the Bloom campaign. The local public houses were also blooming fantastic. The wildflower meadow at Ginhall Green and newly planted Jubilee Orchard were both standing proud as the judges visited with the local Heart of England in Bloom 2012 30 residents. A real partnership approach to working together brings Leominster in Bloom to fruition this year! Areas of Achievement: Section A The hanging basket trees down the High Street The public houses had shone again and should be entered in their own right! The orchard planting is now starting to establish Section B The really positive partnership with the local Payback team is overcoming the physical problems, plans and ideas of the Committee The shop window competition was really inspiring and innovative, not only encouraging the In Bloom campaign but assisting in the economic generation of the local economy The developing Jubilee Orchard, Ginhall Green Wildflower meadow and Contractor grass mowing shows how working together the environment can be significantly improved for local residents. The recycling figure is impressive Section C The volume of sponsored tubs all around the route was inspiring The portfolio helped show the year round involvement The Leominster in Bloom posters. Lichfield Chamber of Trade & Commerce Silver Gilt Award Large Town Judges: Nicola Clarke and Angela Pendleton Sun shining – a welcoming reception at Plant Pot Nursery, hosted by Diana Muir, with Richard Lewis, President of Lichfield Chamber of Commence and Coordinator of Lichfield in Bloom who introduced Madam Mayor Janet Eagland and Town Clerk Peter Young. A brief overview set the scene for the day. The judging tour showed some of the many gems of Lichfield - a place steeped in history and heritage. It was a joy to meet with the owners of businesses/retailers, market traders, all upbeat and proud of their City, as indeed were the residents we met particularly at Friday Acre, Dimbles Lane and St Johns. This is Lichfield’s first entry into the Bloom campaign and it certainly impressed the judges Congratulations on an impressive Silver-Gilt Award! Areas of Achievement: Section A The Hanging basket displays with their red/white/blue ribbons and other hanging basket displays seen throughout city walk St Johns Hospital with its gardens and vegetable areas maintained by its residents Dam Street with its individual specialist retail shops and al fresco cafes Cathedral Gardens – uplifting floral arrangements and immaculate lawns Darwin Gardens – Herb and Medical Gardens Memorial Gardens – a tranquil space for contemplation, used by many beside Minster Pool The impressive mature trees – with their resin gravelled tree pits Heart of England in Bloom 2012 31 Beacon Park – Green Flag status – well maintained grass areas framed with mature trees – perennial border garden and the various summer bedding borders were impressive with their choice plantings. Section B Wild life Areas set aside at Beacon Park Darwin Gardens – looked after by John Tilt – long standing volunteer Overview given by Ruth Plant on Lichfield’s record on recycling. Impressive recycling collection through ‘wheelie bin system, including green waste In general the streets were clean to a high standard Section C An impressive first entry led by Richard Lewis showing and gaining lots of support. In the portfolio were impressive articles from Cityspeak and Lichfield Gazette promoting this year’s entry The Community Teaching Garden at Beacon Park Meeting with residents of Friday Acre and Bromfield Living Housing Association and their joint enthusiasm to their gardening project Dimbles Lane Shopping Parade – North Lichfield project – a 106 initiative to improve their shopping area. This and other stakeholders have transformed this area removing the bollards and replacing with impressive boulders, introduced new raised planters and improved access Speakers Corner – well used – Impressive on the day was the Town Crier Oyes! Ludlow in Bloom Gold Award Town Judges: Mike Garwood and Trish Willetts We were met in the square outside the Castle entrance on a sunny morning (we have not seen many of these) by our hosts for the day. After a very informative presentation we went on a tour of the town, past the church Pub with its wonderful display of baskets to the Buttercross, where we were met by the children’s choir. We went into the Castle grounds via the very busy outdoor market and were then taken by car to see the allotments. We travelled to Whitcliffe Common where the views of the Town and Castle from this spot are superb and the Friends of the Common are to be commended for the excellent work they do. The day ended at Palmers Hall with a press and photo-shoot. Ludlow Bloomers still seem to find a little bit extra each year. Areas of Achievement: Section A Baskets on Public houses The floral display at the Alms Houses Planters and baskets at Market Street and Old Street Lower Broad Street planters The Castle entrance Gardens - such as White House being involved. If you looked between the houses into the rear areas a surprise of colour awaited you Section B Work of the Friends of Whitcliffe common Very clean streets, lack of graffiti Shakespeare at the Castle Heart of England in Bloom 2012 32 Section C Banners telling people about Bloom Posters in shop windows Work with school children Community involvement Getting three lots of press for the photo-shoot. Malvern in Bloom Gold Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire The judges were met at The Mount Pleasant Hotel by The Mayor, Town Clerk, bloom members and a first on this year’s tour a female town crier, who had written her own tribute to Malvern in Bloom. Good floral displays throughout were again in evidence, particularly the recently renovated rose Bank Gardens and the much improved Victoria Park. This entry is underpinned by the voluntary section who all play a small but not insignificant role. Malvern is also heavily steeped in heritage, with its Victorian gas lamps, Well Dressing and a Victorian pillar box one of only six remaining, to name but a few. The bloom committee really have engaged with all sections of the community which has helped make this an excellent entry. The judges were shown an insight into next year’s projects and are already looking forward to their visit with great expectation. Areas of Achievement: Section A Hanging baskets on The Foley Arms Very tidy grounds of the Isobel Harrison Gardens The removal of epicormic growth The well maintained Victoria Park with its well planted seasonal beds The vastly improved maintenance regime at Rose Bank Gardens The newly planted island beds in Priory Park Section B Wildflower troughs on the Post office roof The increased recycling now up to 76% The use of peat free compost in the seasonal bedding and incorporation of their own organic compost The refurbishment of the Victorian gas lamps The heritage walks through the Cemetery are getting more popular The annual well dressing event The water used from the wells for the hanging baskets The restoration of the railings and seat furniture in and around Rose bank Gardens Section C There are already exciting projects in the planning for next year The Girl guides cleaning the graves in Priory Church Again the whole of the bloom family have been involved All of the planted roundabouts are sponsored, with a waiting list The best dressed shop window competition Heart of England in Bloom 2012 33 Moseley in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Urban Community Judges: Mike Garwood and Angela Pendleton We were met by the ladies of Moseley at The Exchange and after an informative presentation by themselves and pupils from Queensbridge School we left to start our tour of Moseley. After looking at the now established bed on the car park we were taken to see the excellent on going work at the Dovecote, just along the road we visited Moseley Hall Hospital which is used as a rehabilitation aid for people who have suffered brain traumas. Taking in Moore Green allotments and Cannon Hill Park we arrived at Moseley Park and Pool to meet the children from the Montessori Nursery who use the Park as their outdoor classroom. The rest of the tour took in Woodbridge Road, Laburnum Grove, St. Mary’s Church and Churchyard ending on the Village Green to meet other members of organisations with involvement to Moseley in Bloom. Areas of Achievement: Section A Improvement to the car park bed Hanging baskets and barrier boxes, especially around the Village Green Start of other work in St. Mary’s Churchyard Laburnum Grove residents’ action group on going commitment Tree planting throughout Moseley – almost 200 trees planted Open Gardens Weekend 2012 Section B Moseley Park now available to all of Moseley residents Substantial progress on the work at the Dovecote and Gardens St. Mary’s Churchyard plans for improvements to the churchyard to enhance bio-diversity Anti-litter campaign – Queensbridge School were commissioned by Moseley in Bloom to design posters Lack of chewing gum on pavements Section C The website, launched last year, is now becoming well used The strong links between the Committee and young people A full calendar of year round events. Newcastle- under- Lyme Gold Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood. Newcastle-under-Lyme has been taking part in the Bloom campaign since 1991, and the judges again received a warm welcome despite the rain. The judging started in Brampton Park where they met the Elite organisation which works with people in gardening to help improve their confidence for everyday life. The judges then went on a very busy tour, taking in a number of locations, which included Silverdale Business Park, Keele Cemetery, The Castle Motte, St Giles and St Georges School and Lyme Valley Allotments. The tour moved forward through the Lyme Valley to the Town Centre Heart of England in Bloom 2012 34 viewing the bedding displays finishing in Queens Gardens to the sound of St Wulstans School Choir. Areas of Achievement: Section A Bedding in Grosvenor Gardens Begonia Hanging Baskets Herbaceous borders in Brampton Park Use of perennials and annuals on traffic island bedding The ever bountiful Queens Gardens Section B Wildflower areas at Keele Cemetery Wild life areas in Lyme Valley Recycling is at a very high percentage Work with the Pay Back scheme Section C Communication with schools and other organisations A very active gardens competition Sponsorship of the traffic islands Engaging with local businesses. Oswestry in Bloom Gold Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire A warm welcome was given by the Mayor and The Team and as ever an excellent presentation. Oswestry is Blooming in more ways than one and is achieving and generating a great deal of investment. A brand spanking new leisure centre, magnificent new NHS facilities, new day centre and care home, revamped market etc. The very professional Bloom Team supports and underpins much of this new work as well the day to day nurturing of everything Bloom stands for. All strands of the community are involved in Oswestry and these efforts of the very young to those not so, shows a very strong and well deserved Gold PS. Two gold awards to the choirs of Bellan House and Woodside Schools! Areas of Achievement: Section A Residential gardens throughout the route and yet again 43 Unicorn Road and 1a Wat’s Drive Quite magnificent hanging baskets given the early judging date and this year’s difficult conditions The Central Car Park, beautiful baskets, flower towers and sustainable planting in brick troughs Expertly trimmed and maintained specimen yew trees the work of Michael Owen and team at Oswestry Cemetery The ‘Crown’ bed in Cae Glas Park Cambrian Railway Orchard Project Section B Heart of England in Bloom 2012 35 No apologise for reference to Lawrence Burtons Street Survey, more than a survey a means to an end. An extremely clean Town Centre, complete lack of graffiti and dog fouling someone is working extremely hard! A new museum, restored market cross, Cambrian Railways, Hill Fort…… the list is endless Town Green, once a railway siding, has been transformed with wildflower areas a labyrinth and open space play areas A life size mural of a Cambrian Steam train completely lifts the street scene in one area of the town Section C Ten out of ten for the promotion of Bloom, banners, press, shop windows and year on year involvement A 100% take up of all the Schools in Oswestry somehow or another being involved in Bloom. The work at Holy Trinity Primary School, the children sequestrate every available piece of ground they possibly can for their Bloom related gardens projects Colossal amount of bloom events throughout the year Working with staff and students of Derwen College and their work in an around the town. Pebworth Parish Silver Award Village Judges: Angela Pendleton and Robin Russell This is a first entry into the Bloom campaign. The welcoming committee led by Parish Councillor Simon Shiers, the enthusiastic presentation given by of In Bloom Chair, Yvonne Rose set the scene for a whistle stop tour of Pebworth. It was clear on the day that this community has wholeheartedly embraced ‘Bloom’ using their own identified aims and set objectives. They have raised the civic pride and community spirit of all that is Pebworth by successfully engaging with and involving the community in improving their local environs. The inspiration given by Pebworth School, who also designed the Pebworth in Bloom logo, is remarkable. Congratulations of a well deserved Silver Award! Areas of Achievement: Section A Planters, pots, hanging baskets throughout the village, particularly at the village entrances and road signs and bus stop gave a sense of celebration Pebworth residents own pot floral displays aside of their entrances. The donated terracotta planter to the St. Peter’s Church gate entrance planted with wild flowers. Perennial planting to Village Hall The high quality, well maintained residential gardens seen throughout tour. The NGS Open Garden Scheme - 13 gardens are open to the public Choice and balance of planting to house frontages in keeping with the surroundings. The impressive and productive grounds of Pebworth Primary School with its respect for nature and their environment. The judges enjoyed their Lavender Short Bread biscuits Heart of England in Bloom 2012 36 Section B The school visited was a pleasure to see – their knowledge and importance and respect of providing natural habitats and wild life areas is commendable. We saw a number of areas where the children had been involved; in particular the vegetable plots where they had sown, grown, harvested, cooked and eaten their produce in school. Their examples of nurturing and protecting the environment are being adopted by the community The installation of bat boxes throughout the village The two voluntary foot path wardens – maintaining and keeping footpaths and styles accessible to the public The organised ‘ Big Green Clean Ups’ carried out by the 21 volunteers- removal of dead trees, shrubs, brambles, undergrowth , ditch cleaning, particularly near to Village Hall with its recent planting scheme to encourage insects and butterflies Involving young people in all endeavours The discovery of a Notice Board once overgrown with brambles, now removed, returned to full use! The regularly organised litter picks The proactive stance taken on dog fouling in public places The work started to renovate railings throughout the village Section C Pebworth in Bloom’s future plans as seen in their excellent Portfolio are impressive The production of a Pebworth in Bloom Newsletter, delivered to every home in the Parish The community getting behind and supporting Pebworth in Bloom The local business sponsorship, materials, personnel and use of machinery is commendable. Pembridge in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Village Judges: Angela Pendleton and Robin Russell On an unusual rain free morning, the judges met Alan and Adrian, who informed them of ‘Pride in Pembridge’ a proactive group launched in 2011, its objective, to pick up the ‘In Bloom’ baton. The enlisted key players engaged with their community, the Parish Council, various groups, societies and businesses, who have embraced wholeheartedly “Pride in Pembridge.” They stepped up to the challenge, formulated a plan, devised a strategy of action and entered the 2012 Heart of England in Bloom Campaign! Areas of Achievement: Section A The delightful and naturalised planting, to the cottage frontages The ‘measured’ use of hanging baskets adds to the colourful tapestry, as do the ground planters with their metal sculptures as an accent certainly gave an ‘artistic air’ Pyon House – its front garden stately Datura’s draw the eye to a lovingly planted and highly maintained front garden The themed Women’s Institute Planting and its oak wooden square container The metal sheep sculpture sited in a front garden gave style and humour Heart of England in Bloom 2012 37 Well maintained car park, the lavatories, with their fresh posies of Lathyrus odoratus The planters to the railings in front of the ‘Steppes’ Support of local businesses through their floral displays and Art work Section B The Riverside Project: village green, conservation area with its board walk, River Arrow, and hay meadow, maintained to high standard headed by Tony Norman for all to enjoy The local heritage – Bob Anderson member of Pembridge Amenity Trust enthused on the plans in hand for The Castle Moat The village was extremely clean with no evidence of litter, dog fouling, graffiti or fly posting The well maintained church grounds The Scarecrows pageant – lifting and drawing the eye away from the frontage of vacant retail premises Painting of railings to school entrance by volunteers Recently installed water butt at the village car park to facilitate watering of WI Planter The Interpretation Boards at pertinent locations Section C The successful launch in 2011of the new ‘Bloom’ group ‘Pride in Pembridge’ made up of 12 committee members, representing the Parish Council, W.I., Village Groups and Societies, Businesses and enthusiastic residents. Their aims are, promoting and driving year round activities to maintain and improve their local environs using the ‘In Bloom’ criteria The Hanging Basket Competition and Best Scarecrow competition Involvement of Pembridge Primary School with their well utilised vegetable garden and the recently introduced Forest School. The enthusiasm of the school children Local Restaurant themed ‘going for gold’ menu for July The photography in the portfolio showing events throughout the year. Redditch in Bloom Gold Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood After viewing the portfolio and an extensive display of local activities undertaken over the past year, a tour of the town followed. The baskets were vibrant as ever, and the sustainably planted borders full and lush after the somewhat damp start to the summer. An update on the highly successful bus shelter scheme was given and the judges really commend the project and the fact that other Councils are following suit. This was followed by a visit to the Where Next Association Garden Centre, where having been warmly welcomed by the staff both judges just could not resist purchasing some of the fabulous plants that they grow. Then it was off to admire the new garden at St Stephen’s School’s for which the Council’s In Bloom Group received a certificate from the school for in acknowledgment for their hard work. The garden is superb and will no doubt add another dimension to teaching by allowing the children to be creative with flowers and vegetables outdoors. It came as no surprise to learn that the plants were Heart of England in Bloom 2012 38 supplied by Where Next – given their quality. The recently excavated and refurbished ruins at Bordelsey Abbey were amazing and we look forward to seeing the new interpretation on the site next year. The extensive Samurai exhibition at Forge Mill – with the amazing costumes from the movie film ‘The Last Samurai’ – was an absolute highlight and very much appreciated. At the award winning Arrow Valley Country Park the judges met volunteers and staff from the ‘Love Where You Live’ campaign before touring the peace garden with its newly planted wild flower meadow that was attracting an amazing array of insects. As we have come to expect, Winyates Green Allotments looked immaculate in spite of the very difficult growing conditions this year. Their new educational building and toilet facility is a real asset to the community. The judging tour ended with a visit Harry Taylor House where, in particular, two gentlemen residents work tirelessly to ensure that the garden is full of flowers and kept tidy for other residents to enjoy. Areas of Achievement: Section A Colourfully, full baskets and tubs in the Town Centre Baskets created by What Next Association New Herb bed at Forge Mill Museum Newly constructed garden at St Stephen’s School New landscaping at the Railway Station Section B Continued progress and success of the bus shelter scheme. New murals by the Railway Station Newly excavated and restored ruins of Bordesley Abbey Recycling and conversion of landscape chippings into bio fuel Purchase of G3 utility electric vehicle Installation of solar panels to Council owned buildings We look forward to visiting the innovative Crematorium project Section C Where Next Association Additional support and sponsorship from local business Bloom School art competition Receiving an award from St Stephen’s School for their new garden project Wider community participation – particularly on the ‘Love Where You Live’ project and having 120 volunteer litter pickers Excellent marketing and promotion of the Bloom Campaign Continued support and encouragement from Council Members and local residents Ross in Bloom Gold Award Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire On what was the hottest judging day to date, the morning tour took in a completely new route which was both well thought out and extremely clean. The local authority floral displays throughout the town were particularly impressive in the jubilee theme and were well supported by some outstanding private hanging baskets. The judges were fortunate enough to meet the Carnival Princess, the winner of the Ross Jubilee logo Heart of England in Bloom 2012 39 competition and finally one the Olympic torch bearers from the relay procession through Ross. The allotment garden in The Ryefield Centre is developing well and will hopefully give some of the students the experience for work placements. Heritage is very strong here in Ross and the visit to the beautiful John Kyrle’s cottage was the highlight; however no visit here would be complete without a trip to Pigs Alley to view the latest addition “The Olympigs”. Areas of Achievement: Section A Hanging baskets and planted containers at Goodrich Court The pole baskets throughout the town were full and vibrant Kings Charles II pub baskets The Eagle Inn baskets The well maintained gardens at Merton House Blakes Garden The community allotment at The Ryefield Centre Section B The recycling and eco work at The Ryefield Centre Blakes Garden The excellently maintained Knot Garden at John Kyrle’s Cottage Man of Ross The complete absence of litter, fly posting and dog fouling The increasing number of public art The restoration of the railings in Prospect Garden Section C The amount of press coverage. There were posters and banners strewn along the route publicising Bloom Day and welcoming the judges Pigs alley The shop window dressing competition Children’s jubilee art competition All of the work completed so far at Blakes Garden has been entirely voluntarily and all materials have been donated free of charge Rugby in Bloom Gold Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood We arrived at the Council Offices on 2nd July just after 7.00am. Why so early? Judges do not start work at that time of day - we were very kindly invited to be there to witness the Olympic Flame Tour go through Rugby. This was a very special occasion for everyone in the town and was enjoyed by all. On to the judging tour, we were taken on a walk around to see the wonderful floral displays, such as the Olympic Rings and the Logo, we finished this part of the tour in Caldecott Park which seems to get better every year, at the park we met two new apprentices, the first for a good number of years, it is good to know that places such as Rugby are bringing young people into our profession and we wish them every success. On the rest of the tour we went to see new wild flora areas, a new BMX track and Brownsover Community School, where we were shown around the gardens by two of the garden club children. On our way round we took in numerous Heart of England in Bloom 2012 40 other sites of interest. The tour ended with lunch at the new Catering College. The judges would like to thank all involved at Rugby for a very interesting and different judging day and allowing them to take part on this special occasion. Must make a mention it was Rugby and although dry to start it did rain in the end! Areas of Achievement: Section A Olympic Logos on traffic islands Colour combination of plants in barrier boxes along Corporation Street Planting of beds in Caldecott Park to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee Town Centre Hanging Baskets Two new Horticultural Apprentices Section B Additional wildflower meadows on newly adopted roundabouts 3D photos in vacant shop windows Work done by the BID in the Town Centre Newbold Quarry Nature Area Section C Number of sponsors in these difficult times Communication with local populous about all events going on in Rugby Park Pastor in Caldecott Park to give help and reassurance to the users of the park if they so wish. Shrewsbury in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood. After a presentation by the Town Clerk at Salop Leisure we started with a guided tour of the new landscaped area at the site, this as been carefully implemented to encourage flora and fauna. We then moved on to the Business Park followed by the Crematorium, which is now administered by an outside organisation. Further to a visit to the well maintained Memorial Gardens we went to meet the children at Wilfred Owen School who showed us around their gardens with great enthusiasm. Our journey then took us to Longden Road Cemetery, Shrewsbury School and continued to Bowbrook Allotment Site which is maintained to a very high standard with gardens depicting the four seasons. From there we stopped at Edgefield Green sheltered accommodation to view their wonderful gardens and a stop for tea and cake. Afterwards we proceeded to the Castle grounds which were, as always, immaculate. Our walking tour then took us through the streets of the town to the Square where we were greeted by the Town Crier; our final stop was The Dingle which is a riot of colour. We were honoured on this tour to be accompanied by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Roberts. Areas of Achievement: Section A Town Centre floral displays The Dingle – the WOW factor always present when entering did not disappoint The Castle grounds maintained to the usual high standard Well appointed residential gardens Baskets along the length of Fish Street Edgefield Green Sheltered Accommodation floral displays Heart of England in Bloom 2012 41 Section B Detail that has gone into landscaping to accommodate wild life and natural habitat at Salop Leisure Wild life and wild flower areas at Bowbrook allotments Plans to use the weir on the River Severn at Shrewsbury to generate electricity The Big Tree Plant 2011/2012 Section C Obtaining sponsorship for traffic islands Employing two new apprentices later this year The judges were pleased to see that areas for improvement were taken into account from 2011 Wilfred Owen school wildlife areas and school garden tended by the pupils, interaction with the children and the council Re-branding of the town to take in the whole community. Solihull in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood Our meeting point was Blythe Valley Business Park and after the portfolio presentation we were taken on a very interesting walk of the wildlife and nature reserve at the Business Park that surrounds it. Then off to Hockley Heath to meet the volunteers who manage the flower beds in the village. On to Dorridge railway station to meet more volunteers who maintain containers on the platforms and a large area outside the station. Our next stop was at Dorridge Infant School where the children took us around their gardens with great enthusiasm. We then went to Malvern Park, one of the Town Centre parks to view the Olympic themed carpet bed, from there to the Town Centre with its colourful begonia baskets. The tour then took in Blue Bell community Garden - a new garden created by willing volunteers supported by neighbourhood champs. We finished our day at Arden Hall Parish Council garden; a peaceful garden looked after by both the parish council and youth council. Areas of Achievement: Section A Begonia baskets Town Centre Carpet bed Malvern Park Residential Gardens Florals at Dorridge station Well maintained ground at Blyth Valley Business Park. Dorridge School garden Section B Blyth Valley nature area Take up on retail units in Town Centre Recycling percentage Section C Gardens Competition On-going sponsorship for traffic islands Work done with local schools. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 42 Stone in Bloom Gold Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire Stone represents the Heart of England in Bloom in this year’s national campaign and they have certainly pulled out all the stops. Again all sections of the community are involved from the youngest nursery school children to those not so young. Stone is fortunate in having an exceptionally talented and hardworking Bloom group but is also very lucky to have some unique features too. The Common Plot, literally that, is well managed and used to its full extent by Bloom members. Litter picking dogs whose exploits have also been channelled into a fund raising programme,” Guess the quantity collected”. There is a very professionally administered web site indeed and the Friends of Stone in Bloom are enthusiastic. Some exceptionally fine floral hanging baskets and troughs in the Town Centre dressed the clean and graffiti free streets wonderfully. Areas of Achievement: Section A The work of significantly disabled Jane Smith in the gardens she sequestrates around her home at Walton Grange Housing Association High street planters, quite stunning in size and impact The beautifully tended residential gardens in many parts of the Town Tony Planters, March Hare House, and this years ‘Going for Gold’ theme Really clean and florally decorated business areas. It would be remiss not to give special mention to Whitebridge Estate The grounds, gardens and allotments of Pire Hill First School Section B Rob Ainsworth and his organic recycling at Mill Farm Meadow Valley Road flood plain and The Common Plot Thoroughly clean and tidy and absence of dog fouling and litter The rooftop apiary on the Town Centre brewery The introduction of swathes of wildflowers on traffic roundabouts and the churchyard Street furniture continues to be maintained by the Bloom group Section C The Friends of Stone on Bloom, absolutely unique Pirehill First School Headmaster, staff and pupils totally embracing the ethos of Bloom Not only a very professional web site but one that is well managed and kept up to date The use of the Common Plot as an aid to challenged adults helping them to assimilate into society and have additional interests. Stourbridge in Bloom Gold Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood Heart of England in Bloom 2012 43 The tour commenced at Wollescote Park, where the Judges where shown around the park by officers from Dudley Council. This included their National Collections of Ceanothus and Rudbeckia along with the work undertaken by local school children. A visit to Oldswinford Hospital School, which was as impressive as ever, was followed by a visit to Mary Stevens Park – with its perennial borders and new wildflower areas was equally as impressive. Here the Judges met with the Friend’s of Mary Stevens Park, volunteers from Mary Steven’s Hospice and the newly formed Save Our Stour (SOS) group who are working in Partnership with local land owners and other water authorities to clean up the fly tipping in the river Stour and improve biodiversity. This was followed by a tour of the Town Centre to view the ongoing Town Centre regeneration project (with its delightfully novel welcoming banner for the Judges) and the newly completed Centro bus station. The Judges are looking forward to seeing the completed regeneration project – especially if it is as good as the new station. The tour concluded at St Thomas’ Church where the Judges met with further volunteer groups and Dudley MBC. Areas of Achievement: Section A Sustainable borders within Mary Stevens Park National Ceanothus and Rudbeckia collections and maturing perennial borders within Wollescote Park Barrier boxes and increased number of hanging baskets and floral displays within the Town Centre Floral displays outside pubs Outstanding grounds at Oldswinford Hospital School Section B Wildflower plantings in Mary Stevens Park (including new trail beds) to encourage biodiversity Completion of the new bus station Continuing development, management and refurbishment of blue street furniture Section C Partnership working between Dudley Council, Stourbridge In Bloom and local Friend’s Groups – particularly the Friend’s of Mary Stevens Park Close partnership working with developers of the Town Centre regeneration Save Our Stour campaign and volunteers involved Mary Stevens Hospice sensory garden and voluntary horticultural themed work undertaken with patients Engagement with local schools and communal tree planting events. Stratford in Bloom Gold Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire A boat trip start to a judging tour is not unique but one that takes the judges on a trip herding Canada Geese down river to prevent the geese fouling riverbank lawns certainly was. The work of Geese peace has returned the banks to useable public space. Traditional bedding in Bancroft Gardens was replaced with sustainable planting and this year was at its finest, the rain helped. Well planted baskets, many businesses Heart of England in Bloom 2012 44 contributing their own efforts and a quite stunning Olympic Torch certainly improve the town. Stratford’s Bloomers and the council contractor Veolia have worked well together in greatly enhancing this town and are to be congratulated. Areas of Achievement: Section A Bancroft Gardens and the now well established herbaceous planting were a delight. Good Quality planting in many of the baskets and troughs The Olympic Torch in the centre of town really was a stunning feature Shop and public house floral displays were many and varied Trimmed hedges at Nash’s House and New Place in Chapel St. Section B Geese Peace, yes they really do herd Canada Geese out of Town. A much improved general level of cleanliness, lack of graffiti and clear evidence of attention to weeds in the hard standing. Award winning wildflower gardens at the Butterfly Farm. Introduction of dual litter and recycling bins in Town Centre and Riverside Section C The local Schools competition judged by Bloom is well supported as evidenced by the work at Broad St School. The energy and enthusiasm of an invigorated committee determined to enhance their town. Attraction of various sponsors to support bloom Stroud in Bloom Gold Award Town Judges: Mark Wiltshire and Roger Bache Fine weather, Stratford Park, Town Crier, enthusiastic committee, must be Stroud then! Another warm welcome at what must be Stroud’s jewel in the crown, Stratford Park with all its attractions and events it really is worth a visit. The unique adopt a plot scheme goes from strength to straight with sterling work especially in Nelson St by Anne Creed. Hard work by all the Bloom really has shown over the last few years and Stroud’s residents should be proud of that work. Not only what is immediately visible but rather like an iceberg the vast amount of unseen effort that goes on unseen. Stroud has even pre-empted the RHS theme for 2013 Edible Gardens. Where Stroud leads the RHS follows! Areas of Achievement: Section A Ever increasing floral displays in the Town Centre provided both by local businesses and Bloom itself The jewel that is Stratford Park, somehow or another it ticks almost every part of the marking sheet! The wonderfully quiet, tranquil hospital garden, small but perfectly formed The appearance throughout the town of begonias, last year’s rescue from being composted Planted pots in the Town Centre by local school children Heart of England in Bloom 2012 45 Bank Gardens, new sustainable beds, bulb planting and of course the now matured fern bank Section B No apologises for mentioning Stratford Park again, its bio diversity, constant maintenance and amazing events The extra dimension the refurbishment of the canal will bring to the town both from a visitor and wildlife point of view A generally very clean and tidy town an improvement on previous visits The Stroud Festival of Nature now in its fourth year Numerous interpretation boards and good signage Section C The increased awareness of Bloom, local radio information, welcomes signs in shops, banners etc. and generally a good press offer on behalf of the Bloom story Involvement of local schools and their gardening clubs The increase and quality of adopt a plot Transition Stroud Edible Gardens. Studley in Bloom Gold Award Small Town Judges: Roger Bache and Ken Whittaker Another year where we visit a town covered in fly posting, all the work of the very enthusiastic Studley Bloomers telling the world of Judging Day, the message certainly did get across. A magnificent new sculpture proclaiming Studley’s needle making heritage stands foursquare in the very busy high street. Newly planted recycled containers some really stunning hanging baskets and clean and well-kept streets were a credit to the work done here. The well maintained library square planting and the partnership formed with the local Cooperative Store are classic illustrations of how Bloom can enhance a community. Studley found a winning formula last year and this has been reproduced in 2012. Areas of Achievement: Section A Floral troughs and containers in a very busy High St, good colour and maintenance The floral displays at the Bell Public House Some lovely residential front gardens, Muffin Gardens in Eldorado Rd especially Fire Station hanging baskets Planting and general appearance of the Library Square The planting and maintenance of the troughs outside the public conveniences undertaken by Bloom members Dunstan Rd Allotments, a site with no waiting list Section B Stunning art work in High St depicting the needle making heritage of the town, additionally the fine sculptures at Priory Mill Heart of England in Bloom 2012 46 The passion and commitment of PM Walters and Sons in their high level stewardship of Castle Farm Studley Heritage Trail and Exploring Studley’s historical trail The street furniture, clean and coordinated Section C Blooming Fly posting everywhere Another community that is to lose its Fire Station; yet the decades old, Fire Fighter Annual Flower and Vegetable Show will go ahead under the leadership of Studley in Bloom Superb partnership work with the town’s flagship Cooperative store Lots of school involvement, similarly Brownies. Tamworth in Bloom Gold Award Small City Judges: Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood On a wet and dull morning we were greeted by the Mayor at the Information Centre. An informative presentation was given on all the work and events that were taking place in Tamworth. We departed from there to start our judging route in a vintage Fire engine complete with firemen, much to the delight of Nicola and Sarah. The first stop was to meet the Friends of Wigginton Park, then onto the railway station with its flower beds and Tamworth Two pigs depicted in florals. Then a quick call at Glascote Cemetery on the way to the community Fire Station (more firemen) to meet various groups involved in the Bloom campaign. We then arrived at the magnificent Castle Grounds and after viewing, took a walking tour through the town ending at the Alms Houses. The weather may not have been kind to Tamworth but it did not stop the judges being impressed with the amount of colour in their wonderful floral displays. Areas of Achievement: Section A Queens Jubilee Rose garden Extra baskets, barrier boxes and basket trees Moor St Island carpet bedding. Castle Grounds flower beds. Maintenance of Grass Areas in a difficult season Involvement of Public houses in basket scheme Section B Wild about Tamworth Lack of litter on a very busy market day Wiggington Park Anti dog fouling campaign Large number of Nature reserves Project to enhance visitor display at Castle Section C On-going Bloom initiative Working with schools Partnership with the Payback Scheme Support from elected Members Heart of England in Bloom 2012 47 Set up links with the County Council Community Fire Station. Tewkesbury in Bloom Gold Award Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire The meeting point was the grandiose Abbey House within the grounds of the Abbey. Setting off on foot praying that the rain would hold off we were shown the quite superb floral displays throughout the Town Centre both seasonal and permanent planting. Again the bloom committee and their contractor are working well together. All of the local schools are actively encouraged to get involved even down to what must be the youngest bloomers in the country from tree Tops Nursery at 12 months!! The bloom efforts are supported admirably by a large number of volunteers and all to a high standard. Despite the withdrawal of all funding this entry is getting better year on year. The tour finished in the same style as it began with a drive in a 1930s Morris Isis. The most pleasing aspect of this entry is that the judge’s suggestions for improvements are being acted upon. Areas of Achievement: Section A The Abbey Gardens maintained by the Flower Guild for the Abbey flowers The seasonal beds maintained by the Tewkesbury Town North Residents Association The floral bed depicting the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury again all the work of volunteers The ongoing hard work by the volunteers in Victoria Park, the new “Bee bed” The hanging baskets and troughs on Uncle Sam’s The troughs on Avonside Taxi’s Tudor House with its secret garden and floral containers The vibrant baskets adorning Bishops Walk The residents of Barton Court Care Home with their flowering pots Section B The continuing excellent work on The Ham and The Wetlands Project Tirlebrook School with their forest classroom The increased volumes of recycling due to the high profile promotion campaign Street cleansing has improved considerably Tewkesbury Abbey The much awaited Medieval Statues Project The use of 100% peat free compost The high quality interpretation signs around the town The medieval festival depicting the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury Section C The impressive amount of projects being undertaken and in the planning The planted wheelbarrow competition The continuing working relationship with Brian Williams is to be admired The good work with local schools and voluntary community groups Heart of England in Bloom 2012 48 Free use of community bus for the tour Tutbury in Bloom 2012 Silver Gilt Award Small Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mike Garwood Tutbury goes from strength to strength in only its second year the Bloom Team has thrived and clearly here to stay. A town that is in its 20th year of an open gardens weekend has somewhat of a pedigree, it has been hiding from HEIB far too long! We liked the excellent floral baskets, a new hanging basket competition and sustainable bedding. Tutbury Eco Power group will soon be ready to launch their share offer and their dream will be reality. Jane and Rick Nuth are doing truly inspiring work at Tutbury War Memorial ensuring that the Town’s heritage is both recorded and cherished. A very clean welcoming Town. Areas of Achievement: Section A Wakefield Avenue Community Garden is a credit to all involved; not only in its good horticulture but in the way it has brought about a culture change and stopped much of the anti-social behavior that previously occurred on the site Some nice floral baskets and troughs outside Public Houses in particular the New Inn The quality of the planting in the troughs outside the council offices Croft House sustainable planting, the rain did at least some good! The well planted area of land surrounding Holts Lane bus stop and the fact it is tended by the local residents The introduction of a Hanging Basket Competition judged by the Mayor Section B Tutbury Eco Power Project is gaining momentum plans are moving ahead with the hydro-electric scheme and their low carbon community A very clean town with no evidence of fly posting and graffiti The smallest wildflower meadow in Staffordshire, at Richard Wakefield School! Superb work at St. Marys Church researching those fallen in the Great War (and subsequently) as the 100 anniversary draws near Organised litter picks Section C The clear sense that Tutbury in Bloom is here to stay; a very strong team has been formed that gives great confidence for the future of Bloom here Tutbury Museum, how can so much information and so much community activity take place in such a tiny space? An open gardens weekend that is now in its 20th year, well done Tutbury’s Civic Society and their annul planting of bulbs on the Old Mill Site The embryonic efforts to fund a restoration of the War Memorial Addition of banners advertising Bloom Upton in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Heart of England in Bloom 2012 49 Large Village Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker What a wet morning welcomed us to Upton Upon Severn! One thing shining was the lovely flowers along the new flood defences. The riverfront, after the worry as to what effect the flood defences would have on the view of the river, are a delight. From the riverside we walked to the newly painted river bridge where we meet Annabel who has helped to improve the area by the side of the bridge with new plantings, then on to the school to view the newly built plastic bottle greenhouse and the very much improved school grounds. Berrow Court was especially colourful this year and from here we viewed The Ham which is an SSSI area. Then finally back along the river front to the old churchyard where even in the rain it was a delight to meet so many people. Areas of Achievement: Section A The colourful planters along the river front have helped to blend in with the new flood wall and the baskets were a delight on the new lamp standards The much improved grot spot in Hanley Road car park Section B The re-use of bark chippings from tree work that are now stored at the Cemetery The reuse of plastic bottles to make a greenhouse at the school The extra wildflowers that have been planted to increase the ones already growing in the Hanley Road car park verge Section C The portfolio highlighted the fact that many volunteers turned up to help plant the barrier and lamppost baskets Using the Green Grow compost in the planters and tubs which partly comes from the green waste collected in the recycling centre in Hanley road car park The use of river water to fill up 'Florrie' Upton’s water vehicle to water the baskets and planters that are not on the watering system. Uttoxeter Gold Award Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire A starting point (and subsequently finish) at the Strawberry Garden Centre, a great supporter and sponsor of Uttoxeter in Bloom saw the tour off in style. Many very good residential front gardens, some sustainable roundabout beds, quite stunning public art and some of the best floral baskets thus far this year. Difficult economic times see the Bloom still striving ahead and really supporting their town. A country of volunteers the work done at the railway station exemplifies what can be achieved. We visited probably the most polite school children ever at St Marys First School and had lunch at You in Mind. A fabulous tour, thank you. Areas of Achievement: Section A Some excellent hanging baskets notably the Town Hall, Malting’s and the Three Tuns Public House. Despite the weather conditions many residential front gardens were quite stunning. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 50 Millfield Rd Allotments, some clearly spend 25 hours a day to achieve perfection here. There must be an outdoor vacuum cleaner socket somewhere on this site! Davies Drive Community Park, a real asset to that part of the town. Sustainable Planting at the Community Fire Station. Beautifully tended grounds of St Mary’s Parish Church. New planting at the railway station Section B Enhancement of some Public art on roundabouts, with the addition of under planted grasses really made things come alive Very clean Town Centre streets Redfern Cottage and its quite special containerised planted “yard” New Public Art, the Diamond to celebrate the 60th anniversary and the wonderful mural at the railway station Excellent recycling figures, education and general understanding by all. Section C The obvious clear support of Bloom by the Town Council does make a huge difference and it shows. Despite difficult economic times Bloom has managed to have sponsored the same number of floral displays as last year The volunteers at the Railway Station have made great inroads into making the station a clean, fresh and welcoming place. Even Taxi drivers waiting in the rank can be seen with pruners and dustpan and brush, must be unique. Excellent working partnership with Strawberry Garden Centre Warwick Town Council Silver Gilt Award Large Town Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire Warwick has very strong local bloom competitions, some amazing residential gardens and quite remarkable floral displays at pubs and businesses. Unusually Bloom here is the work on one person, the Town Clerk and two very able and supportive assistants, their efforts are to be applauded. Heritage it has in abundance with the finest medieval castle in the country, Lord Leycester Hospital and unique Victorian Hill Close Gardens, very special allotment plots indeed! The children and staff at Emscote School were a delight, budding Alan Titchmarsh's in the making. Areas of Achievement: Section A Many striking residential gardens, quaint, formal, ultra-modern and all shades in between Sustainable planted bed in St Nicholas Park Floral baskets and troughs at businesses and public houses, Warwick Arms, Jersey Villa, Lazy Cow and the Conservative Club to name but a few Immaculate gardens at Lord Leycester Hospital a credit to the staff there St Mary’s Lands and their transition into a designated wildlife area with swaths of wildflowers The grounds of Emscote School The outstanding roundabout planting on Coventry Rd, quite dazzling Section B Heart of England in Bloom 2012 51 The creation of designated wild life area at St Mary’s Lands The work at Myton Pools The local heritage box was well and truly ticked, two and half hours simply is not enough! A very clean and tidy town with and absence of litter and graffiti, perhaps in no small part to the fast response graffiti busting teams Excellent signage and interpretation boards that were numerous well respected with no damage New recycling banks and an excellent recycling rate for the district Section C Churchillian words are needed here, there are only a “very few” doing extraordinary work to make Bloom work so well Schools - Warwick in Bloom Painting Competition Business take up of all available hanging baskets that Bloom could provide. Wellesbourne in Bloom Gold Award and Category Winner Small Town Category Judges: Roger Bache and Trish Willetts Despite the weather the Bloomers from Wellesbourne were as enthusiastic as usual. The new installation of the Dragonfly, young people’s design inspired metal wall, conservation bench in the graveyard and the completion of the fabulous Chedham’s Yard have definitely made a significant impact to the local community in the last year. These four major projects will be a legacy of the community spirit of Wellesbourne for many years to come. Another wonderful year’s work from Heather and the team! Areas of Achievement: Section A Hastings Road is looking much more welcoming for the residents walking through the alleyway The sustainable planting in the ‘Dog beds’, planting around the trees and outside the Library/Doctors are a good impact for visitors The horticultural signage on the trees outside the doctors allows visitors to gain knowledge of the types of trees planted Mr. O’Malley continuing with his donation of handing baskets to the Doctors surgery New shops adding tubs and baskets in the shopping precinct showing the increased knowledge of Bloom in Wellesbourne Section B The new conservation bench at the graveyard is a gem! The partnership of working with the Wildlife Trust has shone through this year! Planting up of the mound by the church – overcoming the obstacle of the landscape Chedham’s Yard in its quintessentially English setting Section C Great working relationship with the Community Payback Team The plan for the 2013 local wildlife photographic calendar is an innovative idea to spread the conservation and wildlife theme of the ongoing works Heart of England in Bloom 2012 52 Encouraging local people to seek out the ‘best bits’ of Wellesbourne and then, because of sponsorship allowing the calendars to be distributed free of charge! The incredible photograph displays of last years hard work is an ideal way to show how hard the whole community have worked The wildlife booklet available to the community is a great way of spreading the word! Willenhall in Bloom Silver Award Urban Community Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willetts The judges began their tour in the wonderful sunshine that had been specially ordered for the day by Diane Mansell. Beginning at the Memorial Park, where we talked to park staff and the enthusiastic ‘Friends’ group, we were shown the recycled bus-shelters now used by the bowling fraternity during the inclement weather. We admired the innovative ‘Lock Bed’ showcasing the heritage of the area by including a pad-lock and keys to the centre of the display, and were fascinated with the artistically designed hand rails up the steps of the band-stand, which, we were informed, had be designed by local school children. We passed into the Market area, where we admired the newly fitted shop-frontages and the array of hanging-baskets, alongside the market clock, whose flower-bed this year had been planted and cared for by the local traders. The heritage theme began only a few years ago and is now beginning to transform the area with the help of the local traders. Moving through the town we ended the tour in the Chart Centre with its newly laid-out gardens and raised beds. Areas of Achievement: Section A 150 assorted trees have been planted in the park and surrounding areas There is now a multitude of ‘traders’ hanging-baskets Willenhall in Bloom still has Green Flag status The Dale Island planting scheme Two new flower planters brighten-up the Police Station frontage Many shrubs are now in the Town Centre car-parks Section B The Wood Street and the Union Street Church Projects Continued success with the ‘Keep Willenhall Tidy Campaign’ Particular success in joining forces with ‘Street Pride’ to keep litter down and tackle graffiti Section C A visit by the ‘Italian Market’ brought the community together for a day of speciality eating fun, as did the Willenhall Carnival Consultation with the retail community has resulted in happier traders and cleaner streets The successful ‘Clean Up Week’ in April allowed local people and local agencies to work together Security has improved with the new ‘joined-up’ approach now used by both businesses and the Police. Winshill Parish Council Silver Award Heart of England in Bloom 2012 53 Urban Community Judge: Ken Whittaker On the hottest day of the year so far the judge arrived at the Horticultural Centre to be greeted by Dennis and Margaret Fletcher who are the Co-ordinators of the Parish Council. The Judging Tour began in the adjacent ‘Buds Community Nursery Group Project’. Travelling by mini-bus we called into Newton Road Park to meet Stuart Briggs the Canoe Club President, and then travelled to the Recreation Ground to meet representatives of the Parish Youth Council. Following a short mini-bus trip, the tour continued with a nature walk, followed by a visit to Abbot Beyne High School, Bearwood Hill Road, Bearwood Hill Allotment Association, the supported housing project at Epworth House, and concluded at the Resource Centre where we were shown the ‘Jubilee Bed’ and raised vegetable beds of the ‘Grow It and Eat It Healthy Eating’ project, before going into the Resource Centre for a light lunch, and a few moments to saviour the stunning views of Staffordshire and Derbyshire that were visible at every turn on this clear and sunny day. Dennis Fletcher concluded the tour with his presentation. Winshill, as a first time entrant has encapsulated the ethos of the ‘In Bloom’ concept and will go far. Well done. Areas of Achievement: Section A Upwards of 2000 plugs have been planted at The Buds Project The ‘Canoe Bed’ and the ‘Canoe Planter’ at Newton Park is an innovative way to present flowers Lots of commercial businesses are involved in the ‘Best Floral Feature’, and the ‘Adopt a Tub’ competitions The prevalence of hanging-baskets along Bearwood Hill Road is a delight ‘Pole-planters’ show off containers with a difference, outside The Neighbourhood Resource Centre and also outside Hawfield Lane shops 18 new shrub-beds have been cut into grass verges making attractive features throughout the area for all to see Winshill has a well-run allotment site, with a waiting-list of eager gardeners Throughout the area 21 raised beds have been constructed as part of the ‘Healthy Eating’ project. 12 are situated behind the Resource Centre with the remainder dotted about at schools and other such sites. All are helped by volunteers from Epworth House Section B The ’10 Walks in and around Winshill book is an interesting concept brought to fruition ‘Not Guilty’ posters with the photograph of an adorable puppy on must be doing the trick, because there was no dog-fouling evident on the day of the judging tour General recycling projects have enabled the area to boast a 52% waste recycling Local heritage has been protected by historic evidence of foot-path use being unearthed, leading to a foot-path being reopened The ‘Litter Project’ is supported by the lengthsman Section C Heart of England in Bloom 2012 54 This is a community led floral campaign, run with the support of the Parish Council Contributions by the many partners of Winshill in Bloom, from Church to the Youth, the Community to the Police are great assets The Sports Legacy Zones project is an innovation for the future Having a Parish Youth Council gives the young a voice Having a transparent and hands-on Parish Council is hugely supportive 2012 Heart of England in Bloom Discretionary Awards Certificates of Merit Barbara Deason Heart of England Newport in Bloom Charlotte Killick East Staffordshire Borough Council Richard Lewis President Lichfield Chamber of Trade & Commerce Margaret Lucas Ross in Bloom Bert Moore Haughton Village Antonia Pompa Walsall Council Heart of England in Bloom Environmental Award Warwick University Grounds Maintenance Warwick Fields – Coventry in Bloom Warwick University continue to invest in their local environment, with their ongoing holistic approach to supporting, protecting and enriching the biodiversity around the campus. Worthy of note are the ditches that run adjacent to the newly built new halls of residence on Gibbet Hill Road which have been sown with a mixture of wildflowers and grasses. The potentially unsightly ditches have consequently been transformed into aesthetically pleasing wildlife habitats that are designed to encourage biodiversity and add colour and year round interest for the residential students. Heart of England in Bloom Outstanding Merit Award Trevor Swindells - Hereford in Bloom Larger than life character Trevor Swindells, who retired as Chair of Hereford in Bloom over five years ago is back! He returned to the fold in 2011, Trevor is now joint Chair, his relentless drive, focus and energy has rallied ongoing support, secured sponsorship, a successful lottery bid, engaged successfully with other environmental groups to ensure the sustainability of the Hereford in Bloom Campaign which goes from strength to strength - no wonder the flags are flying in the City! Heart of England in Bloom Award for Outstanding Achievement Hilda Sheldon MBE Biddulph in Bloom Generally the most successful of Bloom groups have one or two main drivers supported by a myriad of helpers, Biddulph in Bloom is no exception, and Hilda Sheldon MBE is THE driver here. Diminutive, determined, enthusiastic and professional Hilda started Biddulph in Bloom 21 years ago and really has seen it bloom into the showcase it is today. The Garden Town of Staffordshire only lives up to its name because of her work. An absolute dynamo with a work ethic of ‘I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I Heart of England in Bloom 2012 55 wouldn’t’ Hilda is truly inspirational. Biddulph would be a much poorer place without her. Services to Heart of England in Bloom Award Becki Wood – Solihull in Bloom Becki has been the driving force in the Golden Era of Solihull in Bloom. She has been a fantastic ambassador for Bloom offering to host seminars and spreading the word of the work of Bloom across the Borough of Solihull to encourage residents, community teams and volunteers alike. She has worked tirelessly over the last 8/9 years leading the Solihull Team to gold after gold – from putting together the portfolio to organising the gardening competition and art competition for the carpet bedding, which has never failed to impress the judges. Well done Becki and congratulations on your recent marriage. Heart of England in Bloom School Involvement Award Nelson Mandela Primary School-Balsall Heath Nelson Mandela School acted as venue and hosts for the presentation of Balsall Heath’s 2012 Urban Community entry - and the venue for the completion of the tour. Pupils acted as the welcoming party, delivered the presentation, sang, took judges through their impressive garden and escorted the judges throughout the tour giving whistle stop articulate presentations, how good is that! The talented, articulate, confident, presentable and exceedingly well mannered children of Nelson Mandela School, made excellent hosts, accomplished guides and superb ambassadors they certainly did their school proud and are a credit to the laudable efforts of School Head Azitha Zohkadi and certainly added an intrinsic value and enjoyment to Balsall Heath’s 2012 entry. Heart of England in Bloom Horticultural Excellence Award The Dingle- Shrewsbury in Bloom The Dingle is set in parkland which in itself is well maintained. As you look down into the Dingle from one of the entrance gates you are met by the most wonderful display of bedding and are overwhelmed by the magnificent array of colours that meets the eye. The variety of plants that have been chosen to bring out the best in each other is excellent; they complement each other in every way. The grass surrounding the beds is as if it has been manicured, and the whole area looks almost to have been bathed under a sun lamp to bring it to its best in this wet and cloudy year. The Dingle is maintained to the highest horticultural standard and is a credit to all the staff who work there. They should be very proud of their endeavours. Heart of England in Bloom Community Achievement Award Wild About Tamworth-Tamworth in Bloom Wild about Tamworth is a partnership between Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Tamworth Borough Council and the communities of Tamworth to improve the Borough’s wild places to benefit both people and wildlife. Jointly funded by Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire Environmental Fund the project designates valuable sites as Heart of England in Bloom 2012 56 Local Nature Reserves and establishes local community conservation groups to manage the sites which are important to them. To date this includes communities working on seven sites across the Borough which include: Dosthill Park, Hodge Lane, Kettle Brook, Tameside, Town wall, Warwickshire Moor and Wiggington Park. It is hoped that a new site, Broadmeadow, will soon become the 8th Local Nature Reserve. Wild About Tamworth also provides local schools and other groups with a fantastic opportunity to use the Local Nature Reserves as an educational tool to support their curriculum and STATS work. The Wild About Tamworth project is a very impressive example of bringing a wide range of communities from across the Borough together to improve their local environment in a cohesive and sustainable manner. Heart of England in Bloom Landscape Award Salop Leisure - Shrewsbury This award goes to a business that over the past year or so has expanded; to do this they increased their site on to adjacent land which was open fields. The work undertaken to minimise the impact on the area has been sympathetically done. The mature trees remained, with the addition of an area of wildflowers sown around them; also two balancing lakes were made to take the run off water but also to provide a natural habitat for wildlife. The whole area is maintained to the very highest standard. So this award goes to Tony Bywater and Salop Leisure, well deserved. Quadron Heart of England in Bloom Grounds Maintenance Award Oldswinford Hospital School-Stourbridge in Bloom Founded in 1667, Oldswinford Hospital is a state maintained boarding school, one of just 34 in the country. The grounds of the school provide an exceptional example of well maintained courtyards, gardens and playing fields. They have evolved over the years in a very creative, yet subtle manner that blends superbly with the historic buildings and surrounding environment. The standard of grounds maintenance across the entire site is immaculate and is a credit to the Caretaker and his small team of staff that maintain it. Webbs Heart of England in Bloom Rose Award Cannon Hill Park – Birmingham City Council Birmingham City Council planted 200 Heart of England in Bloom roses in the prestigious Cannon Hill Park in Edgbaston. The rows of bobbing blooms looked spectacular, so much so that one of the judges stopped the transport for a time out to pick one for his lapel. The feature was nestled under a pergola and looked so at home. 2012 Chairman’s Award David Harcourt-Stourbridge in Bloom Stourbridge in Bloom moved up to Small City category from Large Town three years ago and has achieved Gold each year. This is down to the commitment and enthusiasm of one person, David Harcourt, without whom ‘Bloom’ may not take place. He seems to be able to motivate people to become involved and have a valuable input into the campaign. This year has been a challenge, one that I would have to think twice about before entering into ‘Bloom’. On the final stage of this year’s tour - a Heart of England in Bloom 2012 57 banner was suspended between two diggers saying ‘Welcome to Stourbridge in Bloom’, so the Chairman’s Award goes to David Harcourt, and is well deserved. 2012 School Grounds Campaign Acocks Green Primary School Silver Award Location: Birmingham Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker The judges were particularly impressed by: Considering the location of this school the judges were surprised by the tranquil oasis that the school provided to the extent that you felt you were in the countryside The long way this school has come in such a small amount times is a credit to all involved The use of wildlife boxes and bug The well-used outdoor Forest School and classroom is a lovely addition The support from local shops The very beautiful and well-presented tree house. It was a shame the judges were a bit big to go inside to take a closer look. Areas suggested for future development: The use of a bird box camera and monitoring of the wild life boxes would be tool to see how well the area has increased in wildlife Thought should be given to the use of water butts if suitable places can be found Barford Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Birmingham Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker The judges were particularly impressed by: The play area, with its’ newly planted trees and the tubs that the school children have planted, has made good use of the reclaimed land The wildlife area with its’ logged border and insect hotels Identifying and labelling the trees The enthusiasm of this school is a pleasure to witness. Areas suggested for future development: Thought given to providing water butts Possibly growing more herbs and other sensory plants The covered outdoor classroom, would be greatly improved by being segregated from the play-area Winter gardening projects with possibly some spring flowering bulbs planting would give all round interest. Beckbury Church of England (C) Primary School Gold Award Heart of England in Bloom 2012 58 County: Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman This small village school (56 pupils) is to be congratulated on a fine achievement. The effect was “a school within a garden” rather than “a garden within a school”. Every aspect (floral, wildflowers, herbs, vegetables, fruit, trees, wildlife, recycling) was covered and in every case the standard was exceptionally high. It was a great pleasure to visit this school meeting the pupils, staff and parents who had worked tirelessly to achieve this – they have every right to be proud of their school grounds. The judge was particularly impressed by: The overall quality and visionary planning of all aspects of the school grounds The enthusiasm, knowledge and pride of all the pupils regarding their garden, especially the members of the Garden Club who escorted the judge The obvious support given to the pupils by all the staff, governors and parents – a real community production The beautiful entrance into the school through a sustainable herbaceous border which was full of colour and variation A superb “peace” (quiet) garden designed by the pupils – well furnished with attractive seating and plants, together with a wrought iron cross sculpted by a parent An incredible vegetable/fruit garden with everything imaginable growing in pristine raised beds – all items were healthy and insect/disease free. The produce is used in school and also sold to raise funds A well-sourced tool/potting shed and a wonderful top quality poly-tunnel allowing for all season use and production A well-stocked orchard and newly planted commemorative arboretum (Diamond Jubilee) both with meadow grass and wildflowers The wildlife area with pond, which is a good safe teaching area An abundance of insect hotels, bug houses and bird boxes throughout the grounds The provision of water butts, compost bins, wormery, production of comfrey liquid feed and recycling generally (e.g. yogurt drink cartons used for cane toppers) The detailed logbook and planning record maintained by pupils, showing the growth of the garden together with a photographic record. Birches Green Junior School Silver Award Location: Birmingham Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker Birches Green Junior School has been entering the campaign for a few years and this year the judges were shown the school allotment. Although this is some distance from the school they try and get there as often as they can and they are helped by some friendly allotment holders. The judges were particularly impressed by: The wildlife area at the edge of the playground where a dragonfly was hovering The playground is decorated with tubs and wall planters not just with flowers and herbs Areas suggested for future development: Heart of England in Bloom 2012 59 Some help and advice should be sought regarding the planters around the playground – possibly add some permanent planting The planters would benefit from some feeding them as they are a lovely addition but this year not reaching their full potential Possible sponsorship from local shops and businesses would help to provide much needed help in kind and would help move the school forward. Campion Academy Silver Award Location: Leamington Spa Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker The judges were particularly impressed by: This academy actually teaches Horticulture and pupils can achieve a BTEC in Horticulture In the teaching area they propagate their own plants. These are then used in the grounds in there new planting projects or sold on via the local farmer markets etc. The school has its own functioning garden centre The wildlife area and its outdoor class room is a real asset to the school and is well used The school has its own nature reserve created with help from the Tree Council and patron Norman Painting, was born locally. The newly planted area in the quadrangle which has been turn in to a lovely area to sit and relax was the children’s own idea The classes also have their own vegetable beds. Areas suggested for future development: The main grass area is cut and maintained by contractor but more control needs to be undertaken Some work need to be done to bring on the quadrangle garden as parts of it not establishing as one would have liked. Chadsmead Primary Academy Silver-Gilt Award Location: Lichfield, Staffordshire Judge: Fran Lee The perfect cocoon has been created in this school in which children can develop their interest in nature and the growing of vegetables, herbs and all types of plants from seed. This coupled with the dedication and enthusiasm of their teachers bodes very well for the future of the children here. The judge was particularly impressed by: The installation of three raised wooden beds for each key stage The winning of the 'Go For It' award Re-cycling bins placed around the school for such items as apple cores and banana skins The creation of leaf mould Re-cycling of old Belfast sinks as planters The sowing of seeds including Marigolds, Nasturtiums and wildflowers The planting of trees to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Heart of England in Bloom 2012 60 planting of Spring Tubs The improvement of the woodland area in Spring 2012 and an area where children can trail in and out of shrubs Outside classrooms for Maths and Science classes The creation of a memorial garden The perennial border providing interest when walking along the glass walkway between buildings Encouraging nature by the siting of bird feeders The artwork depicted on some of the walls of buildings including butterflies and bees. Areas suggested for future development: The addition of water butts running from guttering would be useful. Cottesbrooke Junior School Bronze Award Location: Birmingham Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker The judges were particularly impressed by: The cleanliness of this site Well maintained lawns The apple tree orchard The raised vegetable bed The time capsule. Areas suggested for future development: The judges suggest that Crab apple trees are planted to replace those apple trees that have died. This will assist with pollination. The bare wall would become an attractive feature with the addition of some colourful climbing plants Planting a ‘Jam Hedge’ (raspberries, blackcurrants etc.) along the edge of the small wooded area would add interest Winter under-planting of spring-flowering bulbs will enhance this site at the beginning of the year. Fox Hollies School Performing Arts College Silver-Gilt Award Location: Moseley, Birmingham Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker These gardens are ‘an oasis of calm’. The enthusiasm of the teaching staff is infectious. The judges were particularly impressed by: Delightful raised vegetable gardens, the produce from which is eaten in school Abundant collection of fruit trees The well maintained green house A fascinating wild-life pool area There are a huge collection of bird-boxes The well used open-air class-room is a great asset This garden id a wonderful educational facility Areas suggested for future development: The judges felt that some sort of safety barrier needs to be positioned to make the grassed embankment a safer area Heart of England in Bloom 2012 61 A bird-box fitted with a camera, would be a fascinating and educational tool. The judges would like to see some seasonal activity photographs. Highfield Nursery and Children’s Centre Gold Award Location: Saltley, Birmingham Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker Highfield was a delight to visit and it was obvious to the judges that this is one big happy family and everyone wants to be there. The judges were particularly impressed by: A beautiful display of welcoming tubs and hanging-baskets leading through to the vibrantly coloured garden The infectious enthusiasm starting with the Head teacher and spreading like wild- fire via the teaching staff to the pupils in each class The enthusiasm has spread so well that parents are constantly ‘in school’, digging, clipping or weeding, something All the planting was attractively displayed Highfield has it’s own allotment, which is wholly comprised of crops grown in raised-beds The school has earned a ‘Healthy Eating Award’, gained because all of the crops grown by the students are used/cooked/consumed on the school premises Asda have been working hand in hand with Highfield The school is buzzing with ideas A bug-centre with a ‘chrysalis project’ was of great interest to the judges, as was the Resource Centre, where pottery, cookery and art are carried out. Areas suggested for future development: Consideration should be given to requesting guidance on the finer points of composting A hanging-basket work-shop offered to the local community might encourage them to join in and possibly even have an ‘RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood’ entry in 2013. Hodnet Primary School Silver Award Location: Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman There is lots of potential within the grounds of Hodnet Primary School and as each area develops further the School and its pupils will have good learning resources. The pupils obviously enjoy their grounds and the garden and there is much enthusiasm to achieve more. The judge was particularly impressed by: A good Garden Club open to all pupils The involvement of parents in the creation of the new allotment garden Using a Master Composter for advice on making and using of compost A good standard Forest School area with plenty of activity areas Links with other organisations for support (i.e. The Rotary Club and Local Joint Committee) Good range of bird and insect habitats – pupils involved in production Heart of England in Bloom 2012 62 Production of bird hides and involvement in the recent Big Bird Watch Becoming shareholders in the local Organic Farm and using it as a learning environment Any other comments – Whilst wildlife pool and surrounds wait restoration the School uses a number of other habitat resources (Erdigg, Attingham Park, and the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre). Areas suggested for future development: Installation of water butts on the allotment shed and greenhouse will provide water on site Progress the wildlife pool area as soon as resources are available as this will provide a valuable on site facility. Holmer C of E Academy Silver Award Location: Hereford Judge: Angela Pendleton It was a delight to have the children as guides and they are excellent ambassadors for the school, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their gardening projects... The judge was particularly impressed by: The school’s welcoming and user friendly entrance mounted outdoor video screen with music, to add seasonal colour, petunias and geraniums planted to shrub borders. The Quad Garden School grounds, with its various outdoor rooms, maintained to a high standard, as are the schools green spaces. The ‘quiet area’ a delightful space designed and created with ‘Bright Spaces’ project Reception classes outside play and learning areas 6 Saplings planted this year to perimeter. Areas suggested for future development: One of the shrubs near the vegetable growing area needs to be replaced I understand building work is to happen shortly, I look forward to seeing the new facility and the grounds and perhaps with the new build, the provision for the collection of rain water into water butts. Funds permitting – painting of railings Leominster Junior School Silver Award Location: Leominster Judge: Angela Pendleton The Gardening Club and ECO Club are making a difference as is the commitment of Mrs. Palmer and Mrs. Lacey. The judge was particularly impressed by: The cheerful welcome from the young people on arrival, competent and enthusiastic ambassadors for all things ‘green’ Heart of England in Bloom 2012 63 The green-house and surrounding areas looking much more purposeful and productive this year, as is the pond, its maintenance and the surrounds of this quad. Good to see water butt in use Bird Boxes and Bug Hotel The sports grounds are well maintained to a high standard Mature borders to school – mixed with seasonal bedding The impressive recycling campaign – saving water. Areas suggested for future development: The Willow arch does need attention – reshaping and pruning Consider membership of the RHS School Gardening Programme. Any other comments: Pending is the building of a new school combining with the Infant School, obviously deters from sustainable improvements to the existing site such as the tranquil garden. There is a sloping bank and tree lined public walk to perimeter fence, which does not make any development such as forest school practical or desirable. Ludlow Infant School Silver Gilt Award Location: Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman An enchanting greeting by the School Choir singing “A Country Garden” followed by a tour conducted by a group of five knowledgeable pupils gave a very clear message of how much the school grounds mean to them. The emphasis is on the environment, wildlife and nature generally plus the understanding of all aspects of fruit and vegetable production which is linked into the curriculum in an easy manner. As an area for learning about nature it is excellent. The Athenian orator Isocrates wrote “If you are eager-to-be-learned you will be learned-much” – this is well reflected in the ethos of how these school grounds are utilised for the benefit of the pupils. The judge was particularly impressed by: The delightful enthusiasm and knowledge of the pupils conducting the tour The “Hilton” standard bug hotel created from Wildlife Trust plans by the pupils A thriving Garden Club supported by parents A well-stocked and varied vegetable garden in raised beds Fruit being grown around the school grounds The impressive production by the pupils (fully documented evidence of each stage) of jams, crumbles, etc, from the produce grown by themselves – raising £55 at a Farmers’ Market A fully committed and excellently documented Eco School project A brilliant Forest School area with dens, climbing tree(safe!) and good use of natural surroundings and materials Good composting, water collection and recycling which was evident throughout the grounds Links with the Grow Cook Share Project and Ludlow in Bloom. Areas suggested for future development: Pupils participate in a plant growing competition in unusual containers which are located throughout the school. It is a great idea and obviously popular but Heart of England in Bloom 2012 64 could be better utilised by consolidating them in the area at the front of the School to give a good visual colourful impact on entering the grounds. Madeley Academy Gold Award Location: Telford, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman It was most rewarding to see the Academy giving an excellent opportunity for young people to study horticulture in its widest form and providing the right facilities to do so. From the classroom, through the nursery and raised beds, to the grounds themselves the pupils have full involvement and were obviously proud of their achievement. Whilst there is no wildlife area within the perimeter of the Academy they are surrounded by good areas for their study which they make full use of. All staff involved should be congratulated on the impressive standard. The judges were particularly impressed by: The impressive grounds at the entrance and surrounding the Academy buildings Their achievement of RHS Campaign for School Gardening Levels 1-4 Their winning achievement (out of 50 entries) in the Fruitful Schools Campaign Orchard Design The impressive character and knowledge of the three students conducting the tour The structure of the Land Based Unit running BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Horticulture for around 120 students as well as offering positions to other schools The support given by the students to four local primary schools and schools from Walsall and Sandwell The nursery standard double poly tunnel providing good work, propagation and growing area The fact that, other than the extensive grass areas, the students maintain the considerable grounds area with some excellent beds of sustainable planting The extensive opportunities for students to grow vegetables/fruit as part of their studies or as members of a Garden Club The work with other agencies and the encouragement given to pupils to gain work experience by volunteering with The National Trust and the Madeley Orchard Project The interaction with other areas of the curriculum Areas suggested for future development: It would of great benefit if pupils could gain regular access to the pool areas just outside the perimeter of the sports field. Malvern Parish CE Primary School Gold Award Location: Malvern Judge: Angela Pendleton The Judge was particularly impressed by: The newly created two pieces of mosaic art work at the school entrance The school’s delightful ‘beach’ style garden, rich in grasses and lavender The welcoming entrance, vase of fragrant sweet peas at reception set the scene Following Mrs Gill’s introduction a group of children from various classes, assembled to show me their school grounds Heart of England in Bloom 2012 65 The Reception outdoor classroom recycled material to its curved path colourful, practical, user friendly and un-inhibiting – a wonderfully specially designed space for children’s stimulation to learn, play and fun. Always a hive of activity! The large playground, divided into various areas using trellis and wooden planters works well – particularly the ‘chill zone’ The ‘Orchard’ grassed play area with its forest school is a vital element and very popular with the children The ‘raised’ pond adds another dimension to outdoor learning – pond dipping v Recycling has a raised profile Compost bins Water butts The mini beasts – homes Provision of bird boxes The raised Vegetable and Herb garden, my guides here, gave an enthused over view of this well tendered and productive place. Through growing the children have learnt the conditions required for growth – they have experienced the joys of sowing, growing, harvesting, cooking and eating, vegetables and salads, harvesting and collecting seed for next years planting – how good is that! Their business skills selling harvested produce – and using profit to reinvest is worthy mini enterprise – well done to the budding entrepreneurs of Malvern Parish School! The photographic records of the Garden Club and School Grounds are a year on year worthy document. Matchborough First School Gold Award Location: Redditch, Worcestershire Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker The judges were particularly impressed by: The Forest school area with its’ new bridge A new water-pump in the traditional style, which brings back memories of a bygone age The raised vegetable-beds boasted some of the best vegetable the judges had seen this year A ‘Family Planting Day’ was well supported by young and old family members There are regular pond-dipping sessions The recycling ethos of this school is practised by both staff and pupils. Areas suggested for future development: More spring-flowering bulbs- maybe an Autumn project The bulrushes in the pool need urgent attention before they take over completely The raised vegetable beds need ‘toping-up’ at the earliest opportunity A good project both in summer and the autumn/winter is to have the children collect different leaves and identify them, possibly make a collection in a folder or a collage for the wall The new greenhouse will be a great asset. Much Wenlock Primary School Silver Award Heart of England in Bloom 2012 66 Location: Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman The use of the grounds to provide good outdoor teaching space for the pupils is well linked into the curriculum and the pupils obviously both enjoy and gain much pleasure from the areas. Much thought has gone into both of the areas. As the quadrangle area develops it will provide a good supply of fruit which can be used by the Cookery Club. The judges were particularly impressed by: The two excellent Forest School areas (one each Key Stages 1 and 2) making full use of the trees and area around the school playing field – use is well documented within the School The enthusiasm of the pupils conducting the tour The ‘Cubertin’ Oak planted to record the Town’s link with the Olympic Games A well-stocked quiet area within the quadrangle of the buildings with herbs and fruit trees The safe area with pond and varied planting The way in which the school has linked with the local allotment and established five growing beds for use by the pupils The link with the Cookery Club to use products from the gardens An obvious supportive group of parents who are involved within the school grounds and the Garden Club. Areas suggested for future development: The school’s allotment is surrounded by some excellent plots belonging to members of the community. It might be worth exploring the possibility to closer links with some of the plot holders to see if they could help and give guidance and advice for the pupils. Myddle CE Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman This small village school of 64 pupils has turned limited ground space and resources into the best use for the pupils. There is a positive link to the curriculum as well as providing an area for the pupils to explore and enjoy outdoors. The judges were particularly impressed by: An outstanding Forest School/wildlife area which includes a great variety of aspects for the pupils learning, stimulation and enjoyment The extensive record of development of the Forest School and its activities The manner in which, having limited space the wildlife area and garden are linked together The large timber shed which has developed into an excellent outdoor teaching area and resource centre with identification charts and many other suitable resources The enthusiasm of the ECO committee members Heart of England in Bloom 2012 67 The incorporation of a small garden and recycling area in the Early Years Centre The varied fund raising initiatives in place to support the grounds The installation of a variety of wildlife habitats and feeders, including a good bug hotel The delightful “unusual container” display. Areas suggested for future development: The well-built “Reflections” area could do with a facelift/renovation (herbaceous plants and shrubs recommended) which would brighten up and enhance this area of the grounds. Newtown CE Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman This school has made good use of the grounds for the benefit of the pupils of all age groups. The judges were particularly impressed by: The bright and welcoming Jubilee themed floral beds at the entrance to the School The continued development of the orchard with a good fruit variety Use of the garden as an aid to 1:1 teaching requirements The variety of facilities created in the grounds, e.g. amphitheatre, living willow structures The well-stocked and provisioned allotment with a good mix of vegetables and fruit A good compost area and the understanding by pupils of its use The way that pupils have grown pumpkins from seed and then planted out on a prepared bed The saving of sweet pea seeds from last year, propagating and planting out The knowledge of all the pupils who conducted the tour of the grounds and the obvious enjoyment they gain from their garden. Areas suggested for future development: The patch of wildlife and water in the corner of the school grounds is ripe for development and would be a tremendous bonus for the pupils. Any other comments – Financial restrictions do limit what is possible to be achieved and a balance has to be reached. This is obviously a project that must be considered along with many other needs of a School. Riverside Primary School Bronze Award Location: Hereford Judge: Angela Pendleton This new state of the art designed school with its large grounds contains designated areas for various activities. The school grounds are impressive. The children have a large outdoor space, a rich landscape to facilitate their development, knowledge and skills in horticultural and other subject areas linked with to the curriculum. The judge was particularly impressed by: Heart of England in Bloom 2012 68 Already much tree planting has taken place such Oak, Walnut, Scots Pine donated and planted by Amey together with a native species hedge donated by the Woodland Trust, planted to a perimeter fence The designated wild life areas are impressive and in years to come as the site develops will become a fabulous woodland to enjoy Jacob, Stanley and Amy were my guides for the visit and indeed enthusiastic ambassadors for their school. Areas suggested for future development: Looking forward to returning to see these wonderful school grounds as they develop with programmes in place for the children’s outdoor learning and activities: By the children developing their raised beds for sowing, growing and harvesting vegetables for the table Protecting their environment by composting of green waste, introducing a wormery and perhaps water butts The enhancement of the local wild life, by introducing wild life habitats (bat and bird boxes, bug hotels) designed and made by the children. Introduction of bee and butterfly attracting plants. Consider as part of the development, the introduction of Wildlife pond With a wealth of open spaces perhaps creating a wild flower meadow. The School would benefit from joining the RHS Schools programme. Sheriffhales Primary School Silver Award Location: Shifnal, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman There is lots of enthusiasm amongst staff and pupils and it is obvious that the children benefit from the school grounds both at play and in learning. Some children were learning about spiders and their webs using natural materials in the playground – a very practical exercise yet simply done. They are quite rightly proud of their status as an ECO Ambassador School and enjoy participating in this. The judge was particularly impressed by: The way in which the grounds are fully integrated into the learning programme The high level of ECO involvement throughout the school with the Green Flag Award flying proudly and a well-structured ECO committee The Key Stage 1 Forest School in place A well-established Garden Club supported by parents A productive vegetable plot with produce sold to raise funds Wildlife boxes in place and feeding stations A well-stocked pond area which is safe but readily available for learning The outdoor stage facility. Areas suggested for future development: It would be of benefit to have the facility to propagate and grow under cover – a small poly-tunnel would be a great asset. St Chad’s Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire Heart of England in Bloom 2012 69 Judge: Fran Lee The interest in gardening and the school grounds in general are a true reflection of the dedication given by Mrs. Rutter over many years. The enhancement and interest shown in these grounds also by local people is an indication that there is care about the future for our young people. The judges were particularly impressed by: The well organised gardening club providing year round interest by planting up tubs of daffodils and crocuses through to the planting of Summer flowers The very healthy fruit and vegetables Raising awareness of wildlife and their habitats by holding meetings of the Eco club three times a week Fund raising by selling plants, herbs and vegetables at the Summer Fair and the collection of Morrison's vouchers The Daffodils in pots which were sold to parents Creation of a wildflower bed Use of woodland area for Science, Artistic and Literary studies Interchange with the local community, parents and the Territorial Army to assist with digging Obtaining the services of a local builder who created raised beds out of bricks and a farmer who delivers bags of manure The arrangement of Olympic rings near their wildflower bed. Areas suggested for future development: some plug plants or a wildflower carpet could be employed to improve the growing of wildflowers St Giles and St Georges Primary School Gold Award Location: Newcastle under Lyme Judge: Fran Lee This school has a vast amount of space which is utilized to its best advantage and has been well planned by the Head Mistress Mrs. Lynne Evans. The creation of a dry bed with the use of gravel adds a good ambiance. The children gave a good explanation of their seed sowing and the use of the vegetables. This idyllic setting can only give children the best start in life. The judge was particularly impressed by: Awareness of Heritage Pottery classes, old street and school signs installed in this seven year old school with a plaque with the history of the old school Well planned outside areas with a garden for pupils in each school year using raised beds The teaching of the life cycle of butterflies and awareness of nature by the studying of wild birds, mini beasts and other creatures. The wooden outside classroom The hedges, one of which has 10 species planted and Willow arches around the school The setting up of a garden centre which uses Maths skills to weigh goods The character of the outside area with an attractive scarecrow Use of recycled tyres in the playing field Heart of England in Bloom 2012 70 The gaining of Silver Eco Awards. Areas suggested for future development: I feel that everything is under control and they appear to have covered all items laid down in our criteria St John the Evangelist RC Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Kidsgrove, Staffordshire Judge: Fran Lee This school is an excellent example of teamwork led by the volunteers with quizzes to encourage the children to think about gardening and the world around them. The judge was particularly impressed by: The input of the dedicated volunteers Enthusiasm of children from Gardening/Eco club The patriotic flags adorning the playground and well maintained sports field The bug hotel and the interest shown by the pupils for its residents Pots with Olympic colours The well designed and maintained beds one with herbs and another with cottage garden favourites The quality of these beds immediately welcomes visitors past the school gates The finger sign post near to the entrance gate giving directions to the various areas The innovative and imaginative approach to the school areas expressed in special names e.g. Splodge and Boris The involvement of local organisations in providing goods and the input of a local recruitment agency in digging out Splodge The planting of 60 trees to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Areas suggested for future development: Perhaps the addition of more water butts St Johns Catholic Primary Silver-Gilt Award Location: Bridgnorth, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman The appreciation of their school grounds and the involvement/activities taking place shone through here. The pupils were enthusiastic and resourceful – proud of what they had done and achieved. This was a most enjoyable visit on a miserable rainy day. The judge was particularly impressed by: The way that the school grounds were a fully integral part of learning with displays reflecting this throughout the school The many groups/organisations involved with and linked to the school grounds A thriving Garden Club and Forest School (Key Stage 1) The attractive and colourful garden with shed roofs covered with sedum A well laid out growing area of raised beds and fruit trees The positive link with the local Sainsbury’s and an excellent display in the store (viewed) which has used many aspects of learning in the production Involvement of the PTA within the grounds Use of recycled items such as old tyres as containers The provision of feeders and bird boxes Heart of England in Bloom 2012 71 Their Green Flag award The impressive power point presentation in support of Bridgnorth in Bloom The fact that the pupils enjoy their involvement with growing and learning about plants and the environment. Areas suggested for future development: The reading chair inside a live willow surround is a great idea and hopefully the replacement willow can be put in place soon. St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Gold Award Location: Malvern Judge: Angela Pendleton St Joseph’s Catholic School took a year out in 2011 and the welcome given by Mrs. Mootz and the children on a very rainy day was as warm as ever – the judge was delighted that you love treading puddles! The judge was particularly impressed by: The school’s imaginative use of recycled items Button plant labels, an imaginative and productive way to recycle old buttons, old milk cartons and garden twine. The solar fountain made using lots of old bottle tops an old dustbin and a bit of an old mini greenhouse Tip Taps for use in washing hands to prevent spread of germs (system adopted from Africa) Potty Pots Competition using recycled milk bottles Jubilee Year colour themed planting of red, white and blue using wild flowers Planting of Jubilee Oak with signalled the start of a celebratory A red Olympic rose in commemoration of the Olympic Torch coming through Malvern Planting of Wild Flower Meadow – using the seed bomb method – used cut up egg boxes, filled with soil and seed mix – then with the aid of an old badminton rackets – the bombs were launched into the targeted area! Three Sisters Garden – native North American Indians 3 crop method, sweet corn, beans and squash to aid growing of healthy plants. Green manure is made by harvesting from the school grounds, comfrey and nettle with a dash of worm tea – from the wormery! The jewel in the crown this year has to be the installation of the school pond! Already many creatures have taken up this desirable residence on the tour we saw many newts, pond skaters and water boatman. Plant and Seed Swap The cookery club use St. Josephs’ organic produce. Areas suggested for future development: A recycled plastic bottle ‘green house’ would fit well with St Joseph’s ethos of the three ‘R’s Reducing, Reusing, Recycling, Heart of England in Bloom 2012 72 St Lukes CE County Primary School Silver Award Location: Silverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme Judge: Fran Lee At St Lukes there is a dedicated team of teachers instrumental in ensuring that the children gain an understanding of their environment and respect the wellbeing of their peers. The judge was particularly impressed by: The planting of daffodil bulbs in a local cemetery by the children The friends of the school built raised beds Working with the wildlife trust Dedication of a garden to the deceased Reverend Ansell A strong gardening club The raising of funds by selling chicken eggs and entering the Morrison scheme The bee cut-outs in the entrance hall The recycling of wellington boots for planting and nurturing of plants from seed The creation of a relaxation garden, sensory garden plus the window boxes outside the classrooms which contribute to wellbeing Areas suggested for future development: Consider siting some of water butts St Mary’s CE Primary School Silver Award Location: Mucklestone, Shropshire Judge: Fran Lee The children at St Mary’s are being given excellent tuition in observing the world around them in a beautiful location added to which they have an outside chess table and hopscotch play area. All these activities must ensure the best start for their lives. The judge was particularly impressed by: The involvement of the children in wildlife nurturing e.g. leaving wild nettles to grow for the butterfly larvae, the interest in tadpoles in their pond, watching the life cycle of moths by keeping them under glass in the classroom The membership of the Gardening Club The good quality of the fruit and vegetables being grown The collection of Morrison, Asda and Tesco Vouchers enabling the purchase of many useful items including a greenhouse and a shed The raising of funds for bird feeders and boxes, an attractive bench and a Pergola Each class growing sun flowers from seed The use of re-cycled tyres The use of e-cycle bins for food The pressing of flowers by the children The sales of plants and flowers to raise money. Areas suggested for future development: To install rainwater butts to collect water from buildings or the shed To design and build a bug hotel To create more log piles for bugs The children should be shown how to weed. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 73 St. Matthias CE Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Malvern Judge: Angela Pendleton Another very enjoyable and uplifting visit, the guides made excellent ambassadors, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and it was a joy to see the children at work and play. Thanks go to Mrs Davies and Mrs Edwards as St Matthias is certainly moving ‘onwards and upwards’! The use of horticulture to facilitate learning in the core curriculum and to have fun in the process is a must for any school - St. Matthais School certainly does that in wheel barrow loads! The judge was particularly impressed by: On arrival eye catching themed planters The laminated Flag with – Welcome to St. Matthias set the scene Litter free outdoor class rooms, play areas and green spaces The stroll area with its magnificent mature and huge ash tree acts as a exclamation mark to its entrance Logs as seats between the shrubbery – this is a well used and popular area used for play, learning and contemplation, the pergola with seating is a pleasant addition The Children’s creative art works The consideration of wild life is encouraged with various forms/types of habitats for all creatures, of all sizes The eco green house, close by are three highly decorated compost bins Strawberries bed looking very productive The new tool shed is impressive and well organised, storing the garden implements and equipment Shade covered outdoor class room with its planters to the perimeter The ‘rainbow’ seats and benches with raised planters for growing herbs. Other comments: There are plans for an extension - I look forward to returning next year to see the plans realised. St. Richards CE First School Gold Award Location: Evesham, Worcestershire Judges: Roger Bache and Mark Wiltshire The judges were very impressed with the enthusiasm and knowledge of the students and the time allocated was nowhere near enough for this visit. The judges were particularly impressed by: The judges were given a very comprehensive guided tour of the school led by the children themselves with minimal support from staff The five green flags achieved by the ECO council, now means that they can mentor other schools Heart of England in Bloom 2012 74 The grounds of this school are quite simply superb, generously funded by the PTA, planned by both children, staff and parents and very well used on a daily basis, weather permitting of course! From the bird watching club through to the well attended gardening club this school offers something that all pupils can be involved in Everything that can be recycled is; ink cartridges, plastics, paper to name a few. Each classroom has its own recycling box Great planning has obviously gone into the well maturing sensory garden The Jubilee themed planting throughout the school, including a Union Jack The very impressive number of bird/ bat boxes scattered around the grounds Annual bulb planting There are excellent links with high street retailers, which has led to all manner of items being donated The native hedge planting is maturing nicely The excellent vegetable area, where crops are used in the school kitchens The ever increasing number of water butts The ECO council is run almost single handily by the children even setting the meeting agenda!! Areas suggested for future development: Not a lot to be added except, the school signs are very well hidden! St Thomas CE (VA) Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Kidsgrove, Staffordshire Judge: Fran Lee The judge was particularly impressed by: The planting of Jubilee wood The quality of the flowers and vegetables Recycling all manner of items including stamps and clothes The input encouraged from outside including volunteers from Britannia Building Society and the donation of trees by Homebase A second bug hotel designed and built by the children The many water butts along with compost bins Illustration of year-round interest in gardening by the planting of daffodils and winter pansies. Engaging with the community by helping to plant at the Railway Station and a Church. The use of vegetables the children have grown in the school's meals Raising the profile of the school's activities by publicity Areas suggested for future development: The wildflower area perhaps needs relocating away from the sloping ground and perhaps would benefit from some plug plants. St Wulstans Catholic Primary School Silver Award Location: Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme Judge: Fran Lee A very pleasant grassed area greets visitors when entering this school which is enhanced by the planting of colourful perennials in its borders. The involvement of the Heart of England in Bloom 2012 75 teacher Rob Stockton who has enthused pupils into the enjoyment of gardening bodes well for the future of the children of this school. The judge was particularly impressed by: The enthusiasm of the members of the gardening club who enjoyed showing me their wormery. The club meets during lunch times and after school and parents are also encouraged Awareness of nature by pond dipping Installation of nest boxes and log piles on St. Wulstans Walk Involvement of parents and the Rotary Club and the enthusiastic collection of 14000 Morrison's vouchers which were used to buy tools Recycling of water by installation of butts and the use of compost bins Outside areas being used for lessons in addition to setting aside a 'Quiet Area' A good vegetable garden with excellent Broad Beans, Peas and Strawberries For spring interest, Daffodils have been planted. Areas suggested for future development: Further development and extension of the small wildflower bed would be good for maintaining the bee population Pupils should be encouraged to weed. Stottesdon Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman When you are being instructed on the planting and caring of a plant by a pre-school pupil and everything he says is correct then you know that the garden is working for the School! This Victorian village school has limited space but the grounds have been well thought through and provide a good resource – whilst there a Science class was in full flow looking at insects. A particular nice fact was that one of the pupils had, just that morning, been informed he was a winner in the art competition run by HOIB and there was a display of his work and others in the garden area. The judge was particularly impressed by: The enthusiasm and knowledge of pupils – the garden is obviously important to them and all pupils can access the Garden Club (enthusiastic leader with lots of ideas) The way that maximum use has been achieved within a limited and restricted space A good variety of plants, fruit and vegetables The Olympic and Jubilee themed raised beds Weekly table-top produce sales to raise funds Being an integral part of the National Garden Scheme Village Garden Trail The excellent outdoor stage beneath a mature beech tree The bird box with video link to the classroom computer Good insect habitats The recently installed good standard compost area. Areas suggested for future development: A bug hotel would give added interest for pupils (model on Wildlife Trust website). Heart of England in Bloom 2012 76 The Meadows Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Madeley Heath, Newcastle-under-Lyme Judge: Fran Lee Such a lot of activity in a very small space but the quality of the produce and flowers show that it's quality not quantity that matters. The children are being encouraged to enhance their knowledge of gardening by taking on an allotment in a nearby field. Praise must be given to their teachers for encouraging their respect for those people who lost their lives whilst fighting for their country. The judges were particularly impressed by: Re-cycling of wellington boots for planters, vegetable and fruit waste, shredded paper for chicken bedding and rain water using butts being fed from guttering on the buildings The production of good vegetables, fruit and flowers including strawberries, sweet peas, pumpkins, a grapevine and beans and taking the produce home to eat or for use in school meals Communication with the outside world by sponsoring people with facial disfigurements, the Potato Council to acquire seed potatoes, the Woodland Trust for Trees. Raising of funds by collecting Morrison Vouchers (collected 2000) which bought a shed and tools, selling some wellingtons which had been planted at Summer Fairs The planting of a War Memorial in their village together with the students making their own red poppies Gaining of an Eco Bronze award The keeping and nurturing of two chickens, the eggs being used in the cookery club. Areas suggested for future development: The creation of bug hotel should be considered in the new allotment Also some thought should be given to acquiring some wildflower seeds before next Spring Possible contact with the local allotment association for help and advice before next spring. The Wilfred Owen School Gold Award Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman A recently new build, this School’s grounds have been extremely well planned and developed to provide the pupils with an excellent outdoor recreation and learning complex. Original trees and plantings have been incorporated given maturity and character to the surrounds. Whilst such a high standard has been achieved action is continuing to develop areas further (i.e. masking the inside of the security fencing with shrubs, wild roses: wildflower planting, a coppice). A most impressive school grounds and the staff and pupils are to be congratulated on everything they have achieved. The judge was particularly impressed by: The impressive layout of the whole complex with all aspects covered to a very high standard Heart of England in Bloom 2012 77 The fact that as well as a Garden Club each class have their own identifiable plot The extensive and high standard of composting in the gardens and the fact that all school waste is recycled through a bio-composter The greenhouse made out of plastic bottles The excellent Forest School area with it bird hide, feeders, nest boxes, bug houses and pond The way in which the School boundaries are developed to blend in with the adjoining countryside The otter attraction programme The produce from the gardens is used within the School kitchen and pupils are aware of this The wide range of planting and crops Good planting of fruit trees with cordons being used for ease of reach by pupils The excellent wheelchair access throughout Raising of money from tomato plants, grown by pupils, for Water Aid Links with local firms and Shrewsbury in Bloom Achievements such as Sustainable School Award and Green Flag The obvious links with the curriculum. Upton upon Severn Primary School Silver Award Location: Worcestershire Judges: Robin Russell and Ken Whittaker The judges were particularly impressed by: The school is an Eco-status School The fantastic community supported plastic-bottle green-house, sponsored by L&T Vowles Ltd and built by parent volunteers The seven year old oak tree that has been given into the care of the school by a neighbour who had grown it from an acorn planted at the birth of her first grandchild The newly transformed school entrance area is now very welcoming The raised beds near the plastic-bottle green-house are a great asset. Areas suggested for future development: This site would benefit from the use of a few more water butts A bird-box fitted with a camera inside would be a useful and exciting teaching aid An interesting autumn project would be to plant lots of spring flowering bulbs. Villiers Primary School Silver-Gilt Award Location: Bilston, West Midlands Judge: Angela Pendleton At 600 pupils the school has an uplifting and bubbling busy atmosphere the children filing by and chatting happily as they change rooms. School corridor walls all decked with images of previous pupils and celebrations. Many trophies proudly displayed, all giving a sense of the values of care, respect, acknowledgement and achievement, and pride in all that is Villiers Road School. The judge was particularly impressed by: Heart of England in Bloom 2012 78 The front entrance ands its grounds – well maintained lawns and mature shrub borders with stately Stipa gigantea’s for accent Colourful planters at the School Entrance Sports Ground showed an exacting standing of maintenance Blue/dark blue newly painted railings at the school perimeter The wormery and water butt Greenhouse propagation Newly installed plant sleeper beds Fully utilised vegetable beds Sensory area Nature garden, bird hide with living green roof Enthusiasm of the children and teachers – the later being my guides for the visit. The Villiers Eco Scrap Book. Areas suggested for future development: Planting in new borders – instead of singular line of plants – use more plants to fill beds perhaps themed with a colour Introduce sustainable planting as well as seasonal bedding Looking forward to returning to view the bridge construction plan, signed off and completed! Welland Primary School Gold Award Location: Malvern, Worcestershire Judge: Angela Pendleton Learning can be fun and Ms Ruff and her team provide that within this happy atmosphere, where the schools grounds facilitate using horticulture successfully in linking into the facets of the curriculum. This was an informative and enjoyable visit, the garden club guides were excellent ambassadors for Welland School. The judge was particularly impressed by: The frontage of the school Notable in the schools limited grounds is the illusion of outdoor rooms, used for various age groups for learning and play together with a quiet area nearby The rainbow coloured pencil shape fencing to the vegetable growing area The vegetable garden looked very productive Garden Club members knowledge of plants grown and elements needed for germination and healthy growth Tractor tyres used as veggie planters with the recycled plastic bottle green house proving an essential asset The enterprising ‘growing business’: grow, harvest, and sell produce, with reinvestment into ‘growing business’ The harvested lavender, used to make lavender sachets Impressive, newly installed wooden sheds with raised and covered veranda Forest School maturing nicely and obviously well used The photo album provided a record of the many activities carried out by pupils. Westfield Gold Award Location: Leominster, Herefordshire Judge: Robin Russell Heart of England in Bloom 2012 79 The judge was particularly impressed by: The many different types of bird feeders mostly made out of fruit: a novel idea and of course afterwards they can be recycled The recently built bug hotel to encourage wildlife. This will soon become a well established addition to the school Eco School status The plastic bottle greenhouse The recycling throughout the school The abandoned poly tunnel now utilised by the school is already helping the children to grow their own plants The painted and maintained play equipment undertaken by the pupils themselves The Olympic theme in the Sensory garden providing colour. Areas suggested for future development: A bird box camera would be useful to help bring the wildlife into the classroom, when in a season like this, it’s been so wet to really use the outdoor space In a few small areas there were some weeds. Worfield Endowed Primary School Gold Award Location: Bridgnorth, Shropshire Judge: Stan Sedman When you can stand with rain dripping down your neck and yet experience real enjoyment out of viewing grounds you know they are good! The way the planting has complemented and enhanced the listed main building is very impressive and well maintained. Obvious pride shines through. Many people are involved in reaching this high standard but due recognition must go to Mrs Lewis, who obviously loves the gardens and her contribution is appreciated by pupils, staff and parents. The judge was particularly impressed by: The entrance to the School which wound through a variety of colourful and sustainable planting – a true ‘walk up the garden path’ The high quality of all plants including the many fine hanging baskets around all sides of the buildings The excellent manner which the large oil tank, positioned alongside the listed main building, has been completely masked by trellis and a range of climbers The excellent knowledge and enthusiasm of the pupils plus the way the grounds, including Forest School area, link into the curriculum A thriving, well led, Garden Club with innovative ideas for their raised bed culture – the ‘Pizza’ bed producing vegetables and herbs suitable for toppings was fun A strong input from parents and Friends of the School The excellent quiet area with colourful planting The fact that £50 a year for plants is still received from the War Bonds Account of the Endowment Wildlife was represented, on the school field, by two pheasants, a rabbit and molehills! Areas suggested for future development: Continue to work on the further development of the wildlife walk Heart of England in Bloom 2012 80 Certificates of Merit Lyn Lewis Worfield Endowed Primary School Brenda McGough St John the Evangelist RC Primary School 2012 Children’s Art Competition The Heart of England in Bloom Committee has organised a Children's Art Competition for a number of years’ and 2012 is no different. The theme of wildflowers was chosen this year to link in with the RHS who has this year been encouraging people to plant wild flowers to help our ailing bee population. This year the Art Competition has been supported by NFU Mutual, the UK’s leading rural insurer, who has sponsored the prizes for the winning entries. The judges comprised of Ms Jean Venvil, a Birmingham artist, her husband John and Fran Lee (HEIB Regional IYN Assessor) who has organised the competition on behalf of the Committee. Ms Venvil stated “The quality was so good that they would have liked to keep some of the entries as it was thought there may be a budding Picasso amongst them!” Beth Pritchard of NFU Mutual has accompanied Fran to present the prizes to some of the winners. Category Award Name School Nursery First Prize Caitlin Gooch St. Patrick's R.C. Primary School Leamington Spa Nursery Second Prize Angel Chan Acocks Green Primary Birmingham Reception First Prize Jessica Metcalfe Somers Park Academy Malvern Reception Second Prize Toby Richards Woodside Primary School, Oswestry Year One First Prize Naomi Luce Somers Park Academy, Malvern Year One Second Prize Sana Khan Acocks Green Primary, Birmingham Year One Third Prize Esme Matthews Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth Heart of England in Bloom 2012 81 Category Award Name School Year Two First Prize Maria Pilsworth The Wilfred Owen School, Shrewsbury Year Two Second Prize Thomas Bore Stottesdon C.E. Primary School, Stottesdon Year Three First Prize Mia Conway Chadsmead Primary Academy, Lichfield Year Three Second Prize Iman Ismail Acocks Green Primary School, Birmingham Year Four First Prize Daniel William St. Margaret's C of E School Leon Leamington Spa Year Four Second Prize Jemanda Lighthorne Heath Primary, Swales Leamington Spa Year Four Third Prize Grace Jordan St. Margaret's Junior School, Leamington Spa Year Five First Prize Leah Meehan Watling Street Primary, Brownhills, Walsall Year Five Second Prize Ben Homewood Woodside Primary School, Oswestry Year Six First Prize Jessica Floyd St. Margaret's C of E School, Leamington Spa Year Six Second Prize Jade Hughes Somers Park Academy, Malvern Year Seven First Prize Elizabeth King's High School, Huntzinger Warwick Year Seven Second Prize Nothiga King's High School, Kumarakulas- Warwick Ingham Special School First Prize Luke Sinden Vale of Evesham School, Evesham Heart of England in Bloom 2012 82 2012 Hotel and Pub Grounds Aylestone Court Hotel, Hereford Silver-Gilt Award Judge: Angela Pendleton Attractiveness of Planting: Entrance planters and hanging baskets opulently planted with vibrant geraniums. The four traditional stone planters using standard under planted ‘Olive Trees’ welcomes guests. The fabulous, mature Wisteria growing on the side wall. The Rosemary & Lavender central border and also the areas set aside for wild flower borders. Sustainability: Use of peat free compost. The good balance of shrub/perennial planting combined with colourful annuals. Quality of Care and Maintenance: The gardens are well maintained, flooding has hindered maintenance of lawns and hedge cutting. Sir Henry Newbolt, Bilston Silver Award Judges: Nicola Clarke and Angela Pendleton Attractiveness of Planting: A pleasant Court Yard garden to the side of the pub. The 8 hanging baskets opulently planted with yellow and cerise petunias adds a wow factor. Sustainability: The use of Phormiums and topiary box in the 5 ground planters gives a feel of maturity, as does the architectural specimen Palm. Quality of Care and Maintenance: Plants looked healthy and disease free. Sneyd Arms, Keele Silver Award Judge: Fran Lee Attractiveness of Planting: Attractive hanging baskets and window boxes adorn this honey coloured stone pub in the beautiful Staffordshire Countryside. Some have a red, white and blue theme with trailing scented geraniums, petunias and verbena Sustainability: Geraniums (Zonal Pelargoniums) are very drought tolerant. Perhaps look at other areas e.g. around car park to put planters or create some beds for all year round interest. Quality of Care and Maintenance: The plants in the containers had been well dead headed and looked extremely healthy. There are no other garden areas to consider Stafford Boat Club Silver-Gilt Award Judge: Fran Lee Attractiveness of Planting: With the Olympics in mind, a bronze, silver and gold theme is appropriate. Perennial planting including cottage garden favourites along with evergreen shrubs and seasonal bulb planting ensure that this site is a pleasure all year round. Heritage is a strong influence here as this location has the added backdrop of a beautiful iron bridge and two old red telephone boxes – Sustainability: Excellent choice of plants for dry conditions, Cistus, Geranium macrorrhizum, Potentilla and herbs. With water nearby there should be no problems with watering. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 83 Quality of Care and Maintenance: The use of bricks around beds and wooden benches around trees ensures neatness here. Health of wildlife as well as plants is important with woodpiles and butterfly and bee friendly planting The Barrels, Hereford Gold Award Judges: Mike Garwood and Nicola Clarke Attractiveness of Planting: Very colourful baskets and planters using both annual bedding and permanent plants. Sustainability: Low peat compost used; gravel mulching on the large containers. Water collected for use on plants. Quality of Care and Maintenance: No weeds, plants show and no evidence of pests or diseases. The Chase Hotel, Ross-on-Wye Gold Award and Category Winner Judge: Angela Pendleton Attractiveness of Planting: The attractiveness of the various schemes, the topiary in appropriate stately urns, the vibrant hanging baskets to entrance, giving a wow factor. The Clematis with its unique frame growing to the side of the garden steps was particularly eye catching. Sustainability: Excellent balance of permanent planting, complimented with seasonal bedding. Quality of Care and Maintenance: The grounds to the Hotel are impressive and maintained to an exacting standard. Mature trees to extensive grounds, with perennial and shrub borders, vibrant red roses, magnificent hydrangeas’, hotel walls – clothed with lush Virginia creeper and ivy with stately, mature Magnolia grandiflora. The Hop Pole Inn, Leominster Silver Award Judge: Angela Pendleton Attractiveness of Planting: A fabulous display of seasonal hanging baskets and window boxes. 4 hanging baskets to shady wall planted with Acuba and trailing Ivy with spot Fuchsias to give colour. Also giving a wow factor are the opulently planted half cider barrels! Sustainability: Low peat compost, water retaining gel. An automatic watering system is used. Good use of Sedums by the wishing well. Two water butts are situated in the rear garden. Quality of Care and Maintenance: Some mulch is used, on the day roses needed dead heading with ‘black spot’ present. More mulching of borders – would be advantageous to control weeds Three Crowns, Willenhall Silver-Gilt Award Judges: Ken Whittaker and Trish Willetts Attractiveness of Planting: There were hanging-baskets filled with superbly vibrant colours, innovative window boxes and containers of every size, all filled with the most attractive and perfumed displays, which were placed to give a perfect show. Sustainability: The tight planting of shrubs and flowers in the tubs, containers and window-boxes, along with bark mulching, prevented loss of moisture and also weed growth. The baskets have swell gel and an irrigation system. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 84 Quality of Care and Maintenance: No weeds or pests were present on the judging day. The dedication of care for all the features throughout the site is obvious to see. The whole place sparkles and is appreciated by those who use it. Heart of England in Bloom 2012 85