Stony Stratford in Bloom 2011
As from October 2015 we have had our own standalone site at:
We are leaving this site in place as an archive.
Messy, but Fun! – Children enjoy planting primulas and making wreaths at the Winter Wonderland Event at the Rowans Centre
Stony in Bloom volunteers organised planting and wreath-making as two of the many activities at the hugely enjoyable Winter Wonderland Event at the Rowans Centre, Fullers Slade.
Homebase had donated a large bag of compost and two dozen attractive primulas so the children could plant them up as a pretty Christmas present for their parents.
Stony in Bloom volunteers had brought holly, ivy, fir cones, willow, and bay leaves, and Theresa Wedderburn taught the older children how to weave Christmas greenery into delightful wreaths which they could take home to decorate their houses.
Tree planting at St Mary & St Giles School
On a bright, cold winter morning in December St Mary & St Giles pupils, guided by Stony in Bloom volunteers, planted thirty saplings to thicken the school hedge and the hedge at the end of the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground. The trees had been provided free by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Woodland Trust.
Phil and Mary Sarre lead a working party to thin the Bluebell Wood
Following suggestions by the Britain in Bloom judges, Stony in Bloom had a working party on Saturday, 12 November 2011 to thin the Bluebell Wood, providing more space and light for the understorey to flourish.
Phil and Mary Sarre led the group, explaining what clothing needed to be worn and what precautions needed to be taken. Phil and Mary have had considerable experience of such work. They taught the Stony in Bloom volunteers how to use a bow saw to cut up the logs once they had been felled by Phil.
Helping Rainbows to plant daffodils
The Rainbows were keen to learn all about planting daffodils at their last meeting (on 10 November 2011). Next week they’ll decorate the two large black pots and in the spring the blooming daffodils will be donated to the local nursing home to bring a splash of colour to everyone’s life!
Still some brave marigolds bloom in the Queen Eleanor Garden
Wednesday’s (9 November 2011) working party was at the Queen Eleanor Garden, where Stony in Bloom volunteers were pruning, weeding and planting yarrow. The garden still looks attractive, with some marigolds, dog-daisies, lavender and camomile still blooming. As the volunteers bent over the soil to weed they had the delicious scent of camomile wafting about them.
Everybody a winner in fundraising buffet at the Calcutta Brasserie
Stony in Bloom’s first fund-raising meal, which was held at the Calcutta Brasserie on Monday, 7 November, raised an amazing £664, which Stony in Bloom will be able to use to make the town even more beautiful. It was one of those happy situations where everybody was a winner: those who’d bought meal tickets to support Stony in Bloom had a delicious meal and a convivial evening; Calcutta Brasserie had a full house on a Monday evening; and Stony in Bloom now has all those extra funds.
Calcutta Brasserie gave Stony in Bloom £5 for each £15 ticket sold, and also contributed a bottle of sparkling wine to the very successful raffle, which made £144. Some Stony in Bloom volunteers also donated prizes for the raffle, and there were donations from people who wanted to support Stony in Bloom but were unable to come.
And we all had a wonderful time!
Hoping for a dazzling daffodil display next spring
Today Stony in Bloom volunteers planted a host of golden daffodils near the Calverton Road picnic area by the river. We are hoping for lots of cheerful colour in the new year as winter gives way to spring.
Colourful crocuses for Galley Hill
When the daffodils had been planted by the river the Stony in Bloom volunteers made their way to Galley Hill, where they dug in hundreds of crocuses opposite Queen Eleanor School. So next spring parents will be able to feast their eyes on a wonderful sea of purple and white blossoms as they wait to pick up their children from school.
Cakes to Sweeten our Labours on the Galley Hill Community Tidy Up Day
Congratulations to Louise Reidy for her very successful organisation of the Galley Hill Community Tidy Up day on Saturday, 29 October and many thanks to her for producing cakes for the volunteers who turned up on the day, as well as providing all the hard work behind the organisation.
Responding to leaflets, posters and through word-of-mouth, twenty-five people took part in the clean-up event, including residents of Galley Hill, members of the congregation of the evangelical church which meets above the shop, Tony Jeffs and Mike Bryant, the Community Safety Wardens, and a number of Stony in Bloom volunteers – and by 11.30 am a large number of black bags were filled with rubbish.
Louise took the opportunity to explain her wider plans for pocket gardens in Galley Hill to the gathering, in the hope of persuading those present to engage with these plans too; and what was wonderful about the whole occasion was that the Pastor of the Church and members of the congregation assured us that they are very happy to get involved in the future in improving the area and maintaining plants that need watering.
Never too Young to Help – Young Bloomers join in with Stony in Bloom’s big summer–winter changeover
It’s always a wrench to pluck out summer plants that still haven’t faded, in order to plant the winter blooms, but we all know it has to be done before winter frosts do their worst.
On Wednesday, 19 October a group of Stony in Bloom volunteers took the first step in the process of changing over from summer to winter, by sorting out the winter plants that had been resting over the summer in Stony in Bloom’s York House Community Plot.
The next day Stony Stratford Business Association volunteers dismantled the hanging baskets that have blossomed so dazzlingly throughout the summer and autumn, and took them to Alderton Nursery, where a Stony in Bloom group were ready to empty them.
Friday was the day when the geraniums and petunias came out, and were replaced with winter colour in a variety of textures: box, Sarcococca, ivies, blue and white winter pansies, tall grasses (Stipa tenuissima, Stipa Arundinacea) purple Heuchera and Euonymous ‘Emerald & Gold’ as well as spring bulbs (Tulip ‘Île de France’, Tulip ‘Heart’s Delight’ and small daffodils).
Stony Stratford Walkers walk the camomile path
During their outing on Friday, 21 October the Stony Statford Walkers visited Stony in Bloom’s camomile path at Queen Eleanor’s Garden at the north end of the High Street.
Look out for more bluebells in the Bluebell Wood when spring comes!
A working party of Stony in Bloom volunteers planted more bluebell bulbs in the ‘Bluebell Wood’ at the top of London Road.
Celebrating retirement by planting fritillaries in the Millfield
Catherine King decided to celebrate her retirement in a different sort of way – and in a manner that the whole town can enjoy. She and Mary Cater invited friends to come with them to plant fritillaries in the Millfield on Sunday, 9 October, before returning to indulge in the more traditional celebratory activities of sipping sparkling wine and eating delicious food. They chose the spot carefully, as fritillaries need a moist soil. So, look out for the lovely purple helmets appearingin the grass next spring!
It's autumn and Queen Eleanor Brownie bulb-planting time again!
It was a race against the dying light as the Queen Eleanor Brownies planted lots of tête-á-tête daffodils saved from last year in their bed in front of Queen Eleanor School on the evening of Wednesday, 5 October. Some of the Brownies who were bulb-planting had been the ones who had spoken to the Regional and National Britain in Bloom judges when they did their tour of Stony Stratford, and they were delighted that Stony in Bloom had done so well in the competition. The tête-á-tête will provide a lovely splash of colour next spring.
The Regional Britain in Bloom Judges come to St Mary & St Giles and Queen Eleanor Schools to present their Awards
On 5 October Anne Kempson, one of the Regional Britain in Bloom Judges, presented the Mark Mattock School Challenge Cup to St Mary & St Giles Junior School in an afternoon assembly. She said how delighted she was at the enthusiasm shown by the children for their gardening sessions. Mr Kieran Salter, who became Head at the beginning of this term, praised the children for their achievements and Stony in Bloom volunteers for their gardening sessions with the children.
Anne Kempson then joined the other regional judge, Norman Parker, at Queen Eleanor School, to present the Special Award for Environmental Innovation, in recognition of Fiona Collins's splendid idea of making a greenhouse out of plastic bottles.
Both schools, and also the Stony in Bloom group, are very grateful indeed to Anne and Norman for giving up their time to honour the achievements of the schools in this way.
There was music and dancing and sunshine and perry as Dr Mike Brown of Prebendal Manor snipped the ribbon to open Stony in Bloom’s Queen Eleanor Garden
In almost all respects it was a perfect afternoon for the opening of the Queen Eleanor Garden at the north (Old Stratford) end of Stony Stratford High Street on Sunday. The sun beamed down obligingly as Dr Mike Brown, Curator of Prebendal Manor, processed up the High Street from the Vaults to the pipe and drum of Sara, a professional thirteenth-century musician.
They were followed by a crowd of interested onlookers, and when they reached the garden, where about a hundred people had gathered, Sara was joined by fellow musician, Matthew. Mike and the musicians were in period costume, and some of the Stony in Bloom volunteers serving the mediaeval cakes and pastries that they’d made for the visitors had also tried their best to give their appearance a generally mediaeval look.
On Sunday Mike had brought mediaeval tools, and was happy to explain their uses to people who gathered around.
The music proved too tempting …
… and soon the onlookers, volunteers and Mike were joining hands and leaping to its rhythm. Alas, one leap proved too much for Mike, and he pulled his Achilles tendon – a very painful thing to do. He was amazingly philosophical – listening to the music until the end of the afternoon, before hobbling off on a make-shift crutch (a mediaeval wooden spade under each arm) to be swept off to casualty by a friend.
As well as the mediaeval cakes and pastries, there were pancakes, and also perry, real ale and elderflower cordial served – all very popular and appropriate on this warm, autumn afternoon.
Stony in Bloom would like to thank Mike enormously for making this opening of the Queen Eleanor Garden such an interesting event; also, the musicians, for their delightful music; the Stony residents and visitors for coming and having a good time, and the Stony Stratford Business Association for their support for publicity for the occasion. (We were also very grateful to the sun!)
Stony in Bloom had created the Queen Eleanor Garden to commemorate Stony Stratford’s historical link with Queen Eleanor of Castile, using funds from an Open Gardens event they’d helped organise in 2007. The Futures Group provided two beautiful benches for visitors to enjoy a rest surrounded by fragrant herbs and flowers. Stony in Bloom approached Mike for guidance on the plants and design of a thirteenth-century garden, and he was enormously helpful throughout, donating seeds, and visiting the site as it was transformed by Stony in Bloom volunteers (with help from Dominic Harris) from a patch of dandelion-filled grass to raised beds containing bare earth, and then to a very attractive garden.
National Silver Award 2011
Judy Deveson (centre) and Mary Sarre receive the Silver Award from Rachel de Thame. Photo © Fife Council
Award announced at National Awards Ceremony in St Andrews on Sunday, 25 September 2011
Gold Award 2011
- Best in category: Small Town 2011
- RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ Award 2011 for York House Community Gardens
- Thames and Chilterns Regional Schools Challenge Award and Mark Mattock Cup 2011 to St Mary & St Giles Junior School
- Thames and Chilterns Regional Environmental Innovation Award 2011 to Queen Eleanor School for their plastic bottle greenhouse
Thames and Chilterns Regional Awards announced on 21 September 2011
The FS Bed
The Formiums, which had suffered from the hard winter (see picture above), have been nursed back to life in Stony in Bloom’s plot in the York House Community Gardens, and a group of Stony in Bloom volunteers have now planted them in the FS bed on Fullers Slade, helping to define the F and the S more clearly. They have also planted twelve Euonymous, to brighten up the bed throughout the year. In the spring and summer there will be bulbs and annuals for extra colour.
Grand opening of the York House Community Gardens
Norman Parker was the guest of honour to open the gardens, which he did with his usual warmth, and there was a Gardeners’ Question Time with a panel of Norman Parker, Theresa Wedderburn and Albert Harris, which was very useful. All in all it was a lovely occasion, and the deluge came before it began and after it was over, which was very convenient!
Moving on to the Stony in Bloom Year 2011–2012
A brief rest from its gardening labours after the big push to make Stony Stratford bloom at its very best for the two judging days in the summer, and then the Stony in Bloom group got back into the rhythm of the new gardening year. We find out:
- The Regional Results on 21 September in Chesham.
- The National Final Results in St Andrews, Scotland on 25 September.
Meanwhile, weeds never stop growing, bushes need pruning, and faded flowers need dead-heading, so the working parties have started up once again!
Millions of Marigolds to Deadhead!
That was the first task for a working party in King George’s Crescent, and then later we had to thin some of these beautiful but rampaging blossoms so that they didn’t suffocate the perennials crouching beneath.
Pruning the Perennials and Shrubs
Next we had lots of lavender to prune on the Ousebank Way/Calverton Road bed, in the Augustus Road Garden and in the Hale Avenue Sensory Garden. And there were salvias and hardy geraniums in need in of a snip too.
Weeding Stony in Bloom’s York House Community plot
With the York House Community Garden Grand Opening on Saturday, 17 September it was time to get rid of those weeds that keep popping up on our York House Community plot. Stony in Bloom volunteers are also busy baking for the Bring and Buy Stall and searching in the cupboard for jam they made earlier!
Alliums for King George's Crescent
Most recently, SIB volunteers were out planting alliums in the link bed in King George’s Crescent.
More camomile for the Queen Eleanor Garden
And then it was on to the Queen Eleanor Garden at the north end of the High Street, where there was extra camomile to plant, marsh mallow plants to prune, and yet more marigolds in need of dead-heading!
This bed needs to be looking its best for 2 October, when Dr Mike Brown of Prebendal Manor, clad in period costume, will preside at the grand opening. Professional musicians will play thirteenth-century music to give the authentic backcloth to the event, and visitors will have a chance to drink cider, perry and real ale, and taste delicious food, authentic for the period.
RHS national judges came to Stony Stratford
Here is the route the national judges took:
Please note that this route has been modified slightly since it was first posted and the actual route differs from that printed in the Stony In Bloom 2011 Portfolio.
Stony Stratford Community Tidy Day
Many community organisations joined in the big drive to get Stony Stratford looking immaculate before the RHS national judges arrive on Thursday, 11 August. Volunteers assembled at the York House car park with a range of equipment before moving out through the town to get everything tidy and neat.
Royal Horticultural Society photographer visits Stony Stratford
All photographs by Julian Weigall; © RHS
Golden Garden Award Ceremony
Winners of the recent Golden Gardens competition, as well as gardeners whose gardens were ‘highly commended’ by the judges, crowded in to an Award Ceremony in Stony Stratford Library at 11 am on Saturday, 23 July, when the prizes and certificates were presented by Councillor Rob Gifford, Chair of Stony Stratford Town Council. The prizes had been kindly donated by Acorn Nurseries of Emberton, whose Michael George was also present at the Award Ceremony.
First prize was awarded to Grace McMahon for 95 Malletts Close, second prize went to Gordon Phillips for 2 Flitton Court, and joint third prize winners were Joyce Andrews of 37 Ousebank Way and Sue Carroll of 106 Clarence Road.
In addition to these winners, there were many gardens awarded Highly Commended certificates: very few marks separated the ‘Highly Commended’ gardens from the prizewinners, such was the quality of the gardens overall.
This is the third year of the competition and the gardens seem to get better every year. Everyone in Stony Stratford, and visitors to the town, are grateful to the owners of all these beautiful gardens for improving our neighbourhood, and making us smile.
Fullers Slade Fun Day
This was the second year that Stony in Bloom had been asked to contribute an activity for children for the Fullers Slade Community Fun Day – and Theresa Wedderburn’s idea of providing materials for children to create miniature gardens was enthusiastically taken up by lots of children last Saturday. A friendly burger-seller offered us free polystyrene containers; Theresa supplied the soil, bits and pieces from her garden and house, and the children supplied the ingenuity and artisitic flair. Some also drew interesting garden designs. There was a lollipop for all who took part, and we awarded five prizes to the most beautiful picture or garden. The event was organised by Niki Chapman, and was a great success.
Baptist Youth Group clean up the Town
The Youth Group from the Community Church on Horsefair Green were out playing their part in the big clean-up prior to the arrival of the national judges on Thursday, 11 August. Here they are adding a shine to the street furniture and planters on the High Street.
Earlier in 2011
Unfortunately, the news items for the first half of 2011 disappeared from the website and were lost without trace. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.
- Souper Saturday at Stony Stratford Community Church
- York House Junior Youth Club 2017
- Holiday French for Beginners