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We are leaving this site in place as an archive.
Stony Stratford is almost enclosed by green space comprising the Riverside Park, and recreation areas. Within the town there is also plenty of green space in the form of gardens, allotments, road verges and land associated with commercial premises.
Therefore there is a great potential to develop and enhance the local green environment for the enjoyment of, and involvement with, residents, visitors and local businesses.
New Planting by the Stony in Bloom Group
To begin, initiatives concentrated on upgrading over-mature Council-owned planting areas as well as grass verges. In collaboration with the local council the Group undertook in early 2008 to replant several road-side beds in mainly residential areas. These were: a shrub bed at the junction of Calverton Road and Ousebank Way, the beds outside the Library/Market Square, and the beds surrounding a triangular seating area at the Augustus Road/Calverton road junction.
• Ousebank Way has Mahonia for winter flowering, Ceanothus that brings blue flowers in early summer, Lavender for scent and Euonymus fortunei for all-year colour. The shrubs are underplanted with blue Scilla sibirica.
• The Library beds. Here a mass of old laurel bushes were removed to be replaced with contrasting foliage plants: Phormium, Nandina, Sarcococca and Pleioblastus. This was underplanted with annuals grown by school-children to bring colour in the first year of growth.
• Augustus Road/Calverton Road (the old Water Tower site). The planting here was a two-stage operation, as it is a very large project. The planting plan was devised by two local designers, and entirely planted and tended by volunteers. A plant list is attached under the Appendices.
• A fourth project is the creation of a sensory garden on London Road (formerly just grass) at the junction with Hale Avenue. This at the time of writing is ready for planting (May 2009). The planting plan here was prepared for us by Council Landscape Architects and will be planted by volunteers.
Millennium Beds and Bulb Planting
An opportunity existed on the road-side verges at the five entrances to the town to enhance the extensive areas of grass, which have been done in two ways. At each Millennium marker (at High Street, Ostlers Lane, Wolverton Road, London Road, and Calverton Road), we planned and planted beds with a mix of permanent and seasonal plants. We have Ceanothus, Lavender, Sedum, Alchemilla, and each year a colour theme of nectar plants. In 2008 we had blues and golds – Cornflowers and marigolds, all grown by schoolchildren and volunteers. Each bed has a couple of ‘champions’ to tend it. In the Autumn of 2008 the Group was offered 3000 bulbs by Milton Keynes Council, and so SIB chose Narcissi for naturalising in the grassy verges and bringing early colour and a valuable nectar-source for insects. We have Narcissus ‘Topolino’, N. ‘Tête-à-tête, and N. obvallaris. Volunteers turned out to plant the road-side sites at the entrances to the town, and children helped plant a swathe of Narcissi along the Millrace in the Ouse-Valley Park.
Stony in Bloom is in negotiation with the landlords of Cofferidge Close (a large retail/commercial) development in the centre of the town dating back to the seventies. Here the landscaping is becoming over-mature and the Group is working with the owners to enhance the area in various ways.
The first project will be to replace the many crocus bulbs that existed in the orchard area, to the north of the shops, by the walkway through to the Health Centre. This will be sponsored by one of the businesses in the close.
There has been excellent work carried out by local Pubs and Hotels, in their gardens – well worth a visit.
SIB has garnered the support of a number of local organisations and businesses by way of a sponsorship scheme for the planters in the town, and there is a window ‘sticker’ available now, as a way people can support the In Bloom project.
The involvement of schoolchildren has already been mentioned, but young people at Youth Groups (York House, the Brownies,and the Baptist Church Youth Group) are coming
‘on board’ this year to grow seeds for planting out in the town. SIB is also involved with York House Youth Group to improve their grounds.
Public Parks and Town Gardens
Horsefair Green, in the centre of town has been a public open space since medieval times, and around the War memorial, work was needed to weed and tidy up the beds of Euonymus fortunei, which had become weed-infested and straggly. Again, a member of the Stony in Bloom Group undertook this work.
All the planting has been designed and carried out by local volunteers, from young parents with toddlers, through to school-children, youth club members and the older residents. The maintenance of the new planting is carried out by groups of local residents - hand weeding and pruning. No pesticides are being used. Under the Britain in Bloom banner it has become possible to realise a long-standing desire for more active interest in the permanent planting around the town, greatly appreciated by local residents.
*1. Augustus Road:
Trees: Sorbus vilmorinii and Acer campestre ‘Elsrijk’
Roses: City of London, Remembrance, and Prince William
Shrubs: Euonymus fortunei Emerald Gaiety; Viburnum x burkwoodii; Rosmarinus officinalis; Cornus alba; Caryopteris clandonensis; Lavandula angustifolia Imperial Gem.
Grass: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Malepartus’
Herbaceous perennials: Geranium macrorrhizum; Geranium Brookside; Geranium Sirak; Sedum spectabile Autumn Joy; Verbena bonariensis; Origanum laevigatum Herrenhausen; Salvia x sylvestris Mainacht;
Tulip: Purissima (white); Ile de France (red) and Christmas Dream (pink).
*2. Hale Avenue:
Trees: Acer pennsylvanicum; Prunus subhirtella Autumnalis.
Shrubs: Buddleia davidii Black Knight; Cotoneaster dammeri; Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote; Osmanthus burkwoodii; Osmanthus heterophyllos Variegatus; Phlomis fruiticosa; Ribes sanguineum King Edward VII; Sarcococca confusa; Viburnum burkwoodii.
Grasses and bamboo: Carex testacea; Pennisetum alopecuroides; Phyllostachys nigra; Stipa tenuifolia.
Herbaceous perennials: Anemone x hybrida Honorine Jobert; Aquilegia vulgaris Nora Barlow; Aster amellus Rudolf Goethe; Aster frikartii Monch; Crocosmia x Emily McKenzie; Foeniculum vulgare Purpureum; Geranium Brookside; Geranium macrorrhizum Album; Rudbeckia fulgida var.deamii; Stachys byzantina; Verbena bonariensis.
*3. Narcissi and bulb varieties:
N. topolino; N. tete-a-tete; N. obvallaris.