Stony in Bloom Projects
As from October 2015 we have had our own standalone site at:
We are leaving this site in place as an archive.
Work continues on many of the projects that Stony in Bloom has initiated since 2008. Major new projects for 2011 were Queen Eleanor’s Garden at the north end of the High Street (towards the bridge) and the York House Community Gardens. New projects planned in 2012 included Galley Hill Pocket Garden and Wolverton Road Recreation Ground. Of course work continues on all the on-going projects.
Early in 2015 exciting progress was made on two new projects – the Galley Hill Play Park Bed and Ron’s Rosebed in Vicarage Road – as well as new developments with our on-going project in Wolverton Road Recreation Ground.
To find out more about any of these projects, follow one of these links:
- Augustus Road Garden (Four Seasons Garden)
- Bluebell Wood
- Ecclesiastical Cross
- Galley Hill Pocket Garden
- King George’s Crescent
- Library Perennial Bed
- Lychgate at London Road Cemetery
- Millenium Beds
- Queen Eleanor Brownies’ Bed
- Queen Eleanor’s Garden
- Sensory Garden: London Road/Hale Avenue
- Wolverton Road Recreation Ground
- York House Community Gardens
At the junction of Calverton Road and Augustus Road in Stony Stratford there is a triangular seating area with narrow beds on all three sides. By 2008 the planting had become very straggly and overgrown, so we tidied it up during the summer of 2008 and planted some annuals to provide a bit of colour.
We were able to collaborate with Milton Keynes Council on the clearance and redesign of the beds, and after consulting local residents on their wishes, the planting plan was drawn up by Lesley Keck and Mary Sarre, both resident garden designers.
Many of the older residents remember the rose garden that once graced this corner, and expressed their wish that we plant roses. We were mindful of the difficulties this might present, and at the same time had ideas of our own we wished to incorporate here. We particularly wanted to extend the season of interest of the planting, to bring in some extra height, and to fill the beds with perennials and bulbs. Many of the plants we chose are scented, will attract bees and other pollinating insects, and also provide total ground cover and be less of a maintenance burden.
With this brief in mind we chose three street trees (two Sorbus vilmorinii and one Acer campestre ‘Elsrijk’), to continue the line of trees along Calverton Road.
The roses are: Remembrance (deep red); Royal William (red) and City of London (pink). We have grouped the roses in threes, and between them we have clumps of a tall ornamental grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’). This forms the ‘backbone’ of the design. Then between them are waves of lavender, Caryopteris and Geraniums.
For a burst of spring colour, we planted tulips: ‘Purissima’ (creamy white), Île de France (deep red) and Christmas Dream (pink–red).
For late-season interest we have Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’, Verbena bonariensis, the grasses, and then the evergreens (rosemary, lavender, Euonymus) carry on the show through the winter months.
All the planting was carried out by volunteers for Stony in Bloom, and local residents are taking on the maintenance care of the beds.
Furthermore, we have three new benches and an octagonal planter to enhance the seating area.
The ‘Bluebell Wood’ is the piece of land between the bus stop on London Road and the Stony Stratford Children’s Play Centre. In Spring 2009 Stony In Bloom volunteers worked hard to clear the weeds, which were all over the site, with the aim of making this piece of woodland into a bluebell wood, replete with native wild flowers. Old decayed trees were identified and removed where possible and new paths were cleared and covered with chippings. Bulbs were planted, as were primrose plants and a hedge of native trees and shrubs.
The work continued through the Spring, Summer and Autumn of 2009 and stopped only with the bad weather during the Winter. Work resumed throughout 2010 as the bluebells started to show and the primroses were beginning to flower. In March a large branch overhanging the road way was removed and cut up – you can see some of our volunteers in the pictures.
We have continued improving this piece of land through 2010 with planting wild flower plugs and a seating area has been formed, using large tree trunks.
Most people who pass the site are very supportive of the hard work that has been done, but unfortunately there are those who see it as somewhere to throw their empty crisp packets and drink cans. Each time we visit we have to clear at least one bag full of rubbish.
We work at the site on at least two Saturday mornings each month – so anyone wishing to help, please get in touch the Town Council office. You will be very welcome.
Using money from Phil Wharton’s Milton Keynes Council allocation for Stony Stratford, the new Galley Hill Play Park bed has been prepared and planted. Dominic Harris offered sponsorship in kind for this project too, using his machinery to dig out tough roots. The soil was then enriched with many bags of compost, and the bed given a wooden edge.
Plants were chosen that would suit this shady position, and were planted out on a cold, grey day in February – the sort of day when it’s much nicer to be gardening with a bunch of other people rather than shivering miserably in your own garden! We plan to add snowdrops and primroses shortly.
Exciting Plans for a Pocket Garden on Galley Hill start to take shape
She wants to make a difference, and she’s brimful of ideas and energy to translate ideas into a practical reality! Louise Reidy recently returned to Galley Hill, where she grew up, and she has become a very active member of the Stony in Bloom group. Having studied horticulture at college she has cast an expert eye on the neighbourhood, and she wants to make it even more beautiful.
Her plans are to start with a small bed on the grass area near Clailey Court, where a clump of shrubs had become ugly and overgrown. As luck would have it, while she was in the process of choosing the best point to begin, she came across Mike Webb, who runs Greenfields Landscaping Ltd, and he kindly offered to clear the bed free of charge, as he shares her determination to enhance the landscape where he lives. Within two weeks he’d delivered on his promise, and as these pictures show, the bed is now cleared of all those shrubs that had got out of hand.
Meanwhile Louise is busy designing an eye-catching design that will make an impact on those who pass by. She has great hopes that people who live near-by will join her in making this little bed their own. And, of course, other Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers will help too.
The project took another step forward on Saturday, 7 January 2012 (see the News item on the News page) when the bed was planted up according to Louise’s design by a team of Galley Hill residents and Stony in Bloom volunteers.
Galley Hill Beds enhanced with smart new edging
As part of the enhancement of the Galley Hill beds, Stony Stratford in Bloom decided to use some of the remaining money from Phil Warton’s allocation to ask Dominic Harris to give a new brick edging for the bed outside Queen Eleanor School, which is maintained jointly by the Guides, the school and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers. The Clailey Court bed created by Stony Stratford in Bloom at the suggestion of Louise Reidy has also been edged in brick – and we feel the edging has smartened up both beds enormously.
Already a number of work parties had cleared ivy from the stone perimeter walls and the lychgate of the old Wolverton St Mary’s burial ground in London Road, which has been somewhat neglected in recent years. During this work it became obvious that the lychgate, which was designed by the well-known local nineteenth-century architect Edward Swinfen Harris and erected around 1870, was in need of urgent renovation.
Surprisingly, this proved to be somewhat easier to get under way than was first thought. Initially, all we had to do was finance the materials, which are reclaimed material of that period, where possible, to restore it as closely as possible to its original look.
Milton Keynes Council and the Stony Stratford Futures Group kindly agreed to pay for these materials on a match-funded basis.
In spite of the snow, the scaffolding was erected and work started in January 2010.
Late in the project an old photograph was found of the grave diggers store in the cemetery, now demolished, which indicated that the lychgate would have been finished in ‘bonnet tiles’, rather than lead. The Futures Group kindly offered to fund this extra work, and the completion of all outstanding work. Finally with help from a local carpenter the original oak gates were repaired and the project completed in 2011. Now the restored lychgate is looking splendid.
Research and negotiations had been going on for a considerable time in respect of the ‘Ecclesiastical Cross’ in the London Road burial ground. For reasons of safety this had been fenced off in a somewhat unsightly manner for a number of years.
Now, with financial support form the Stony Stratford Futures Group and Milton Keynes Council, the cross has been beautifully restored and cleaned.
During this work the grave of eleven-year-old Harold Alfred Toombs, who died on 24 November 1909, was uncovered. This has been included in the landscaping. Two rose bushes have been planted on the grave.
Flower beds were planted in 2008 around each of the ‘millenium stones’ at the five entrances to Stony Stratford. These are: at the north end of the High Street, Ostlers Lane, Wolverton Road, London Road and Calverton Road.
Each of these ‘millenium beds’ is looked after by Stony in Bloom volunteers, except the Calverton Road bed, which is kindly tended by its sponsors, Freestone.
Early in 2015 Dominic Harris kindly took out some of the stones in the Vicarage Road bed, then Ron Cox and Robin Nichols spread the manure that they’d been offered by a local farmer, and dug it in. The rich, succulent soil was then ready to receive the fifty roses that Ron and Eileen Cox had sponsored; and on a beautiful afternoon towards the end of February 2015, with a feeling of spring very much in the air, the Stony Stratford in Bloom team joined Ron, Robin and Mary Robinson to plant them all out. Meanwhile, Gill Williams, who lives close by, planted foxgloves from her garden under the trees that form a backcloth for the roses. When all the work was completed the team gazed on their handiwork with great satisfaction. Roll on the summer, and the fiery blaze of red as you turn the corner from Ostlers Lane!
This crescent-shaped bed was planted by volunteers in May 2009, and designed to present colour and variety all year round. Scented shrubs include: Sarcococca (winter box), which is evergreen and gives off scent and nectar in mid-winter, followed by Osmanthus and Ribes (currant), rosemary, lavender and buddleia later in the season.
We have chosen plants also for their colour and texture all year round, for example, Phlomis and Stachys, both with soft grey ‘woolly’ leaves, hardy geraniums for summer colour, followed by asters and Rudbeckia for late summer. The bamboos (Phyllostachys nigra) and grasses (Stipa tenuissima) bring rustle and movement in the wind, and stand all winter. Many of these plants are a valuable nectar source, attracting bees and other pollinating insects right through the season.
The bed is now maintained by Stony in Bloom volunteers.
Since the last update on this project much has been achieved. Dodging rain, ice and hailstones Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers have completed the painting of the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground railings. This task had to be finished in record speed because the roses for the bed behind arrived rather sooner than expected, and couldn’t be planted until the painting was done. Pat Kyd had organised everything so efficiently that when the team came to plant them everyone was taken aback by how rapidly the bag of roses was emptied and firmly planted in the ground.
MK Community Foundation has kindly agreed to give Stony Stratford in Bloom £715 for the Youth Shelter Art Project
We’re delighted to announce that MK Community Foundation has looked kindly on our grant application, and we now have the cheque for £715 to pay for Helen Taylor, an experienced community artist, to work with children from the Space Play Centre, London Road, to paint the Youth Shelter with an interesting design. Painting will take place towards the end of May 2015, and beforehand, Milton Keynes Council has kindly agreed to take down the panels, repair them and put on a base paint. The Youth Shelter had been looking shabby for some time, and we hope that this project makes a great difference and help to deter future vandalism.
Primroses and snowdrops from Ron and Eileen Cox brighten the pond at the north end of the Recreation Ground
Ron and Eileen Cox have sponsored primroses and snowdrops for the pond north end of the pond too, and these lovely spring flowers were planted earlier in February, enhancing the area around the pond in a really attractive way. Many passers-by have commented on how pretty they look.