Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blooming wonderful!

Yes - I've been very quiet! Over the last week I haven't been quietly sunning myself and doing nothing, although it is wonderful to see that great orange thing in a blue sky again! I've been busy tearing around the countryside judging East Midlands in Bloom, which is one of the regional organisations under the umbrella of Britain in Bloom. Communities can enter the regional contest and if successful go on to the National Competition. We drove almost to the coast in Lincolnshire, down south to Northampton and north up into Derbyshire. Its been tiring but we've seen some wonderful places and met many some fascinating people, all working hard to make their communities and environs better places to live and work. And driving around this week, I am reminded how beautiful the British countryside can be when the sun shines!

Somewhere in Lincolnshire and I thought it was all flat - thanks to Richard Adams for the picture.

It's great to see colourful hanging baskets, pretty gardens and  flowering meadows but its also wonderful to hear of the success stories in communities. As judges we found it thrilling to visit schools and see the bubbling enthusiasm from children who were not only growing their own vegetables but happy to eat them! It is amazing to hear of areas where crime has dropped and neighbours are getting to know each other for the first time. To hear of community events where most of a small village come together to carry out a task that improves their environs. We met many heroes - the little old lady in her 80's who still barrows homemade compost around the gardens of her retirement home, the man who comes home from his day job to mow the grass verges in the village and the young gardener who sets up water butts for  local residents so they don't have to carry heavy cans.

Us judges and the volunteers in Elmton

We saw orchid meadows, woodlands, beautiful crystal clear ponds, colourful gardens, bowling greens, traditional well dressing, a redundant red telephone box used for a local history display, flowers, fruit, vegetables and even the odd shy gnome! The results will of course be confidential until the awards in September but in the meantime do have a look at the following pictures of some of the highlights of the week.

In case you think some of the pictures a little odd, I'll fill you in on the marking. There are 100 points for Horticultural Achievement, (all the gardening bits) 50 points for Environmental Responsibility (the 'green' stuff - yes we check out the compost heaps!) and 50 points for Community Participation (getting everyone involved - no excuses). Marks are translated into an award between a Bronze and a near perfect Gold Medal to be announced at the awards ceremony in September!

The volunteers at Barton in Fabis - a well earned drink!
The Old Forge Barton in Fabis

The Forge Gardens again

Front garden - Barton in Fabis

Elmton - traditional well dressing

Evington - volunteers in the well kept churchyard

Original sculpture at Little Cawthorpe

Hidden orchid meadow at Little Cawthorpe

Richard talks to the garden club children at Greenfields School - the meadows, Nottingham

A corner of the school gardens

Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens

Mural in Arkwright Meadows - can you see the AMC?

One of the terraces - no front gardens - no problem!

Community compost heap and water butt
The Pinfold Garden in Elmton

Richmond Retirement Home

Just one of the gardens at Richmond

Colourful baskets at Richmond

St Crispins retirment Home

One of the resident's gardens

St Crispins greenhouse and potting shed - what a resource!

A resident's front entrance

Another resident's garden - lovely!
 And finally - couldn't resist putting this one in - Richard - fellow judge 'stealing' strawberries! But - yes - he did get permission!

1 comment:

  1. It must be extra nice going through all these places and seeing their displays with the fantastic weather we're all having at the moment. The community spirit visible via the gardens are truly admirable.