Stony Stratford in Bloom 2012 First Half
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Community Tidy Day
A Burst of Colour on Wolverton Road
Karen Parker and Sue Bryant have brought a burst of colour to the Wolverton Road beside the railings of the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground, and they plan further waves of colour with drift planting of poppies, cornflowers, cosmos and sweet william.
They have arranged driftwood to support the plants that need it, to create a thoroughly eye-catching display.
The Pleasure of Pig Roast and Puddings
When Stony Stratford in Bloom decided to organise a Pig Roast and Puddings fund-raising event, the group had no idea how popular it woulld be. As the number of ticket sales went up and up, volunteers reached for their recipe books to ensure that all the guests would have plenty to eat. In the event a feast met their eyes. Kevin O’Brien laid on the most succulent and sizzling of hog roasts, with the crispiest of crackling to go with it. Vegetarians weren’t forgotten, as volunteers produced delicious dishes for them too. Then there were the puddings – a paradise of tarts and meringues and profiteroles and torte and cheesecakes and crumbles and trifles for those with a weakness for the sweet goodies of life.
There was lots of real ale and cider on tap as well as wine to bring a smile to the lips – and the talented 4PM Band provided just the right music to add to the conviviality of the evening. Most important was that everybody had a good time – but it was also very satisfying that Stony Stratford in Bloom raised over £1000 from the event, so Stony Stratford will bloom brighter because of it.
Watch out for the next one!
Stony Stratford in Bloom celebrates the Jubilee with Healthy Eating and vegetable growing
The Britain in Bloom theme this year is ‘Celebrating 2012’, and Stony Stratford in Bloom celebrated the Jubilee on Monday, 4 June 2012 with a Healthy Eating Table at the Town Council’s Big Lunch event at Mortimer Park. There was lots of fun to be had – fairground rides, a Jubilee poem from the bard, Punch and Judy – but Stony Stratford in Bloom’s contribution to the jollifications included a table with healthy open salad sandwiches, with lettuces grown by the children of St Mary & St Giles School.
Stony Stratford in Bloom also joined forces with the London Road Allotments Association to lay on a fruit and vegetable planting activity for children, who queued up enthusiastically to pot up strawberry and tomato plants with the help of Keith Tilley, Chair of the London Road Allotments Association, and Linda Cambourne-Paynter, a Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteer and a Brownie leader. Donations given for the sandwiches and by adults for plants covered the costs of the ingredients, and left a little over for Stony Stratford in Bloom funds. The weather was kind, and great fun was had by all!
What a lot of volunteers we got for the winter–summer changeover
In a massive operation, involving a wonderful partnership between Stony Stratford in Bloom Volunteers, Alex Ballance of Bloomin’ Marvellous Plants and the Stony Stratford Business Association, Stony Stratford was transformed from winter to summer glory in time for the Jubilee Celebrations. On Monday, 28 May 2012 all the planters were emptied, and the winter shrubs were replanted in the York House Community bed ready for the autumn, while those plants that couldn’t be saved were composted at the community bed too.
On the Tuesday the compost was collected from the nursery, and bright and early on Wednesday morning one group of five went to collect the planters for the bus shelters and barriers, and the three-tier planters, while a team of twelve gathered in the Market Square to start planting up when the beautiful blooms arrived in Alex’s van. By 6 pm all were in place, and the town was transformed.
There were two huge tasks remaining. On the Thursday morning the Stony Stratford Business Association volunteers sprang into action to put up their baskets in the High Street, and Ray and Mike had the formidable chore of filling up the water reserves from the bowser – which took another nine hours.
By Friday, however, the town looked glorious, clothed in hot red, gold and blue. With the dramatic Jubilee bunting and the cascades of beautiful blooms, the town presented to the world a fitting backcloth for the national celebrations. And on Monday, 4 June even the weather obliged with a gleam of sunshine to complete the picture.
Galley Hill resident brings plants from her garden to brighten the Community Bed
The Clailey Court pocket garden was in need of a face-lift, so on Saturday, 19 May 2012 Louise Reidy and five more Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers got cracking on pulling up the weeds and edging the beds. Sadly, a couple of the shrubs had disappeared over the last few months, so we were delighted when local resident, and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteer, Marion, took a look around her garden and brought out trays of wonderful plants to plug those gaps. She also brought out cups of coffee for the thirsty volunteers, who were delighted by the transformation of the bed after a couple of hours of hard graft.
The group then moved on to the ‘ribbon bed’ across the road from Queen Eleanor School, to remove the turf and prepared the ground. This bed was also planted with shrubs and annuals donated by volunteers.
Pictures of tulips and mahonia win the AHA! Horticultural Photographic Competition
Karen Parker has now judged the entries for the adult and children’s AHA! Photographic Competition that Stony Stratford in Bloom organised. Gary True has won the adult competition, with a beautiful photograph of the vibrant array of tulips planted by Sue Bryant and Karen at the entrance to the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground. Jacob Du Rose Knowles won the children’s competition with a lovely photograph of mahonia.
All the entries were of a very high standard. The adult entries are exhibited in the upstairs display cabinet in the Library, and the children's highly commended entries are exhibited on the wall downstairs, together with a number of photographs taken by children who attend the Children’s Centre.
MK News came to photograph the winners and highly commended in the Library, and the article appeared on p. 28 of the 23 May issue of MK News.
This is the first time Stony Stratford in Bloom has been involved in the Arts and Heritage celebrations in this way, and it has stimulated such excellent photography that we hope to hold a photography competition again next year. The Stani Gallery sponsor the AHA! event in Stony Stratford, and it has been hugely successful.
Sun shines on this year’s Bluebell Party for the Children’s Centre
After April’s non-stop rain, which forced a postponement of the Bluebell Party, Stony Stratford in Bloom struck lucky with Tuesday, 8 May, when volunteers and children from the Children’s Centre enjoyed the annual Bluebell Party in golden sunshine. Against a backcloth of beautiful bluebells and white Queen Anne’s Lace, the children were able to sit on the logs outside and munch their party food.
A Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteer had brought a large crayfish for the children to see, which aroused considerable interest, and Children’s Centre volunteers had organised a planting activity for the children too.
Pupils at St Mary & St Giles School look for lovely, luscious lettuces for their lunch
Encouraging healthy eating is something that Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers hold dear, as does Michele Parsons, the Chef at St Mary & St Giles School, who sponsors the seeds and compost for the school gardening sessions at the school. The pupils were delighted to see how well the lettuces they’d nurtured from seed had grown in the polytunnel, and, having chosen the biggest and finest, carried them in triumph to Michele to prepare for their lunch.
Wild flower seed scattering at St Mary & St Giles School
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been giving away free wild flower seed to In-Bloom groups and schools, so in the gardening session at St Mary & St Giles School today (20 April 2012) the pupils learnt how to prepare the ground for the wild flower seeds and to scatter them in the two beds immediately in front of the school. We’re hoping that by the summer there will be a blaze of blues and pinks from the cornflowers and corncockle the pupils planted there.
Stony Stratford in Bloom launching the In-Bloom Campaign with wild flower seed planting at Mortimer Park
This year the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) sent Stony Stratford in Bloom free wild flower seeds to launch the In-Bloom Campaign, the start of Gardening Week, and to encourage the creation of wild flower meadows for butterflies and bees. On Sunday, 15 April, Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers, and those interested in the Town Council’s creation of a community orchard at Mortimer Park, off Calverton Road, came with rakes and forks in hand to plant the seeds. Milton Keynes Council had kindly done some initial preparation of the ground, and volunteers needed to move the clumps of grass and rake the soil so the seeds would have a comfortable bed to lie in. The seeds could be watered from the river close by. Theresa Wedderburn explained to the other volunteers what to do, and Mary Sarre brought delicious damson buns and elderflower juice to sweeten our labours.
Let’s hope that in the summer walkers who saunter by will see a bright splash colour from the cornflowers, red campion and corncockle among the barley seed ndash; and perhaps a butterfly or two as well.
A grand total of £460 raised at the Stony Stratford in Bloom plant sale
Once again Stony Stratford in Bloom combined with York House for a fund-raising plant sale and coffee morning, with coffee and cake consumers being tempted by the rows of value-for-money plants outside that had been donated by Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers, and the plant hunters being tempted by the delicious home-made cakes made by York House volunteers inside. There was also an ‘everybody wins’ tombola and a bric-a-brac stall, and York House had laid on a great ‘seed swap’. From the plants, tombola and bric-a-brac Stony Stratford in Bloom raised the considerable sum of £460, which will be used to make Stony Stratford even more beautiful.
The face painting by Cherry Cheeks Face Art was much appreciated by the younger clientele and their parents/grandparents.
Children on Fullers Slade enjoy planting flowers for Easter
A series of outside activities was organised by Helen Havens for Children on Fullers Slade this Easter, and Stony Stratford in Bloom was invited to take part. Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers raided their gardens for plants; brought compost and pots; and gave children the opportunity to plant an Easter flower pot for their parents. The children gathered around and potted up with great enthusiasm, and their parents were delighted when they handed over their floral gifts.
Capturing the beauty of spring before it leaves us
St Mary & St Giles Church gardens always bring a beautiful sweep of spring colour from the daffodils and the delectable waft from the scent of wallflowers. Nearby, the Library bed and planters are full of cheerful spring colours too.
It's time for volunteers to start on their milllennium beds, which gladden the eye of visitors and residents as they enter the town.
And it's worth a special trip down Calverton Road to see the dramatic white tulips in the perennial bed on the corner of Augustus Rd
The week when so much got done!
With two working parties a week, often lots gets done – but during the week ending 31 March 2012 we seemed to achieve more than ever! On Wednesday, 28 March there was a split working party: one group watered the hedge saplings that were planted in Mortimer Park and did some weeding there. We were delighted that some of the volunteers who’d come to the Community Orchard consultation came to help as well. Another small group helped Fiona Collins, teacher at Queen Eleanor School, to widen the flower bed at the school. Gary Marshall, a regional archeologist for the National Trust based at Stowe, had been given an afternoon to help us by his employers as part of the Leap Year volunteering initiative, and we were delighted to have his skill and muscle power in lifting the turf!
On Friday, 30 March one volunteer spent four hours mowing the grass around our perennial beds in the town.
On Saturday, 31 March an astonishing amount of planting took place in a number of different places around the parish:
Ousebank Way Play Area: after consultation with residents on what plants they would like to see grown, and help from Milton Keynes Council in preparing the ground, work began on the new bed early in the morning. Local residents came to help, and everyone was pleased with the result.
Ousebank Way/Calverton Road: again, after consultation with local residents, and help with soil preparation from Milton Keynes Council, two news beds were planned on this eye-catching corner. Another group began the planting here, then moved on to repair the raised beds at St Mary & St Giles School.
Once the working party at Ousebank Way Play Area had finished, they moved on to Galley Hill to replace some roses, and then, near Rovely Court, to plant a bed of lavender. Galley Hill residents had prepared the ground the previous day and the money for the lavender had come from a generous donation to Stony Stratford in Bloom from Jessie Griffiths.
Meanwhile another group had gathered at the north end, near the Queen Eleanor Garden. Ron and Eileen Cox had kindly sponsored a fine English Oak Tree to celebrate the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and they helped Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers to plant it here. More roses were planted too. (The previous week Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers had planted a number of ancient fruit trees specially grafted by a local tree specialist near to the Queen Eleanor Garden, and the Queen Eleanor Garden was weeded and pruned.)
There was still one more task remaining: to find a suitable spot near the river for a flowering cherry which Ron and Eileen Cox had bought for a friend’s birthday. A perfect place was found, and the digging and planting was done. By then it was well passed 1 pm, and the volunteers went home tired, hungry, but very proud of all that they’d accomplished since 9.30 am.
A feast of spring blooms near the Queen Eleanor Garden
It was hard work planting all those daffodils and crocuses in the gravelly soil under the grass near the Queen Eleanor Garden last Autumn, but as we gaze on the feast of colour – gold, purple and white – now Spring is here, we feel it was definitely worth all the effort!
Delight as the daffodils start to grow
In the Autumn (10 November 2011) the Rainbows planted daffodils and decorated the pots. Now spring is here, and with it the exciting part – the daffodil shoots and buds appearing! After talking about how plants grow in their Rainbow Session on Thursday, 8 March 2012, the Rainbows will be giving their pots of pretty spring blooms to some elderly Stony Stratford residents living in a sheltered housing complex in the town.
A multitude of volunteers at the first Mortimer Park Community Orchard planting event
On Saturday, 25 February 2012 more than sixty eager volunteers arrived at Mortimer Park (off Calverton Road), where Stony Stratford Town Council plans to create a Community Orchard. Ian Reed, the Deputy Town Clerk, who had organised the event with the help of Stony Stratford in Bloom and the Riverside Parks Group, was delighted with the response. Mary Sarre, from Stony Stratford in Bloom, had staked out the areas for the saplings to go. (These had been provided free from the Woodland Trust to celebrate the Jubilee.)
Many who came hadn’t taken part in such activities before, and had heard the planting was happening from Twitter; from Aboutmyarea; from the leaflets that the Milton Keynes Council community wardens had kindly distributed; from newspapers and from posters in the town. The sun obligingly shone down, and with so many keen planters armed with forks and spades, it only took an hour for the 104 saplings to be planted in gaps in the hedge. Some elders were saved to plant as a windbreak. Varieties included blackthorn, elder, crab-apple and dogrose. There was even time to do a quick litter pick before having a nice warm cup of coffee from Theresa Wedderburn's camper van.
Danni Kushner, the new Bard of Stony Stratford, declaimed a fine poem, written especially to mark the event, and now the Town Council is putting in a bid to the Big Tree Plant for fifty local fruit trees to form part of the community orchard. It was good to see a number of the very younger generation enjoying the digging too!
Thinning and pruning on the riverside
On Wednesday, 22 February 2012, when wintry rain and wind decided to send Spring packing for a day, a number of Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers, working with Milton Keynes Neighbourhood Management Team, began work on the riverside between the Ousebank Way bridge and the old pumping station, clearing self-seeded elder, rotten willow and ivy.
Three valiant Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers began at 10.00 am, sawing and clearing from the old pumping station end, edging towards Stony Stratford, and didn’t finish until nearly 2.00 pm. The rest started at the other side at 12.00 noon, their aim being to free the old quince tree and pear tree which were in danger of being suffocated by ivy and sprawling old willows. By 1.30 pm there was a gigantic pile of branches along the riverside, as Milton Keynes Council had obligingly offered to shred the debris after the Stony Stratford in Bloom group had done the pruning and sawing. The miserable nature of the weather is reflected in the rather miserable photographs, but the volunteers had a great sense of satisfaction when the job was done.
Many hands make relatively light work of lifting & planting saplings
Though it was a chilly, windy day on Saturday, 18 February 2012, and the spare hedge saplings that Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers were transplanting from the Boundary Crescent Allotments to the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground were firmly embedded in the allotment soil, there was an excellent turnout, and so the saplings were uprooted and replanted astonishingly quickly. We were delighted to have Gary Marshall’s little daughter, Eva, supervising the proceedings and bringing a cheerful burst of colour to the rather grey day.
The saplings will fill in the gaps in the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground hedge along the boundary with Queen Eleanor Road, and the neatening of the untidy boundary is a key part of Stony Stratford in Bloom’s plan to lift the recreation ground towards Green Flag Status.
Later in the year we hope to clear debris to create an open pond or seasonal wet area here for wildlife and native plants.
Mortimer Park Community Orchard and the Big Tree Plant
As mentioned in previous news items, Stony Stratford in Bloom and the R
Earlier in 2012
Unfortunately, the news items for the first few weeks of 2012 have disappeared from the website. We hope that they can be retrieved and if so they will be re-instated here. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.
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