Stony Stratford in Bloom 2014 Second Half
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Sunshine for Christmas switch-on day
After a slightly murky start the sun came out and the sky turned blue to make for a very happy Christmas switch-on day for Stony Stratford on Saturday, 29 November 2014. This year, as well as fund-raising by selling the beautiful Stony Stratford calendars produced by Kate Davies, we were also selling lovely little lavender bags that had been made by Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers with lavender we’d grown in the town. Both were very popular, and sales of lavender bags and donations brought £85.50 to Stony Stratford in Bloom coffers, and calendar sales brought £56.
Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers were also involved in a children’s pansy-planting activity in the Library. We really enjoy seeing the pleasure the little children take in potting up a plant to take home.
And of course everyone in Stony Stratford is grateful to the CLASS Committee members for all their work in ensuring that Stony Stratford’s Christmas lights are so special, creating a magical Christmas atmosphere in the town.
Fun and fund-raising go hand-in-hand at Re:Love Fashions!
This year’s Christmas shopping event at Re:Love Fashions was as enjoyable as ever – and as successful! We all had lots of fun trying on and getting everyone else’s opinion on what we should choose to buy, while sipping a glass of wine. With raffle prizes donated by Jackie at Re:Love and donated by Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers there was an extra bonus for eight lucky winners. Raffle sales and 10% of takings brought Stony Stratford in Bloom the fabulous sum of £77. A most definite win–win situation.
Another Sumptous Feast at Calcutta Brasserie
What better way to spend a cold winter evening than to savour the delight of a mouth-watering banquet at Calcutta Brasserie – and at the same time help raise funds for Stony Stratford in Bloom! As always, the restaurant laid on an immense variety of delicious hors d'oevres and dishes, and this year Calcutta Brasserie provided luscious desserts as well as the savoury courses.
Many thanks to Mary Robinson for doing so much to organise the event, and to Jean Morley from the Mill Appartments for collecting gifts from other residents there to make up several magnificent hampers as raffle prizes.
Over one hundred (111) people came, and a combination of the proportion of the ticket money we get, the raffle, and other donations provided Stony Stratford in Bloom with the fabulous sum of £787 for buying plants to make Stony Stratford more beautiful next year. Many thanks to all those you came to support Stony Stratford in Bloom at this event.
Pat Kyd and Mary Sarre took on organising the plants for the winter planters this year
The summer to winter changeover this year started on 16 October, finishing on 17 October, though lots of the hard work of organising and ordering the plants had happened some time earlier, and many of the plants that were being re-used, had been lifted from their summer resting place at York House on the Monday before. Instead of leaving it to the nursery, this year Pat Kyd and Mary Sarre took on the huge task of master-minding the changeover, saving the Town Council a massive sum of over £780.
Ray Cobley and David Odell and their team liaised over the Stony Stratford Business Association’ baskets. (It wasn’t an easy task putting these up, as the baskets were rain-soaked and very heavy.) Mike Cooper played a valuable part in the operation with his trailer and of course all the Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers, who emptied and then filled the planters with the frost-resistant plants, worked hard too throughout the week.
The weather was mostly kind, though on the Monday the plant lifters at York House were deluged with rain and arrived home very wet and very muddy! On the changeover days themselves everything went very smoothly, and many residents stopped to congratulate volunteers on the attractiveness of the winter plants.
As has happened in the last few years, pelargoniums and begonia bulbs weren’t thrown away, but were offered to passers-by from a table on the High Street – an offer that met with an enthusiastic response from residents. (In fact, many passers-by showed their support for Stony Stratford in Bloom by popping a donation in the box as they carried off their blooming plants.)
We’ve won the Thames and Chilterns Region Small Town Trophy
We’re delighted to report that we’ve won the Thames and Chilterns Region Small Town Trophy in the Britain in Bloom competition for the fifth year running. This year we won with Silver Gilt rather than Gold, but were just three marks off Gold.
We also won one of the discretionary awards – the Royal Horticultural Society’s Growing For Gold Pollinators Award for our gold-themed plants – in particular the sunflowers.
St Mary & St Giles School came in for special praise, being runners-up in the Mark Mattock School Competition. They gained a highly commended certificate.
Mary Robinson and Robin and Ron’s It’s Your Neighbourhood North End Project was assessed at Level 3 Developing, just one mark off Level 4.
The one that reached for the sky
In the autumn we measured the sunflowers that Stony Stratford children planted in the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground to celebrate fifty years of Britain in Bloom – and here we have the winner, Morwenna Hills, beside her giant sunflower. The sunflowers brought a golden glow to the park all along the fence during the summer months. The seeds had come free from the Royal Horticultural Society, who wanted groups throughout Britain to plant these pollinators to celebrate fifty years of Britain in Bloom.
Golden Gardens 2014 Awards
This year Anne Kempson, a Britain in Bloom regional judge, kindly made time in her busy schedule to judge Stony Stratford’s front gardens with Pat Kyd and she came back to give out the awards in a ceremony in the Library on 12 July. Both she and Pat said they were very impressed with the standard of gardening that they surveyed. And the winner was …
Agnes Robinson, from the Mill Apartments, whose colourful shrubs and flowers grab the attention of any passers-by strolling down to the river meadows.
Second prize went to Norman Brazell from Church Street, whose beautifully maintained borders curving around The Tannery courtyard are always a delight.
Ousebank Way residents Shirley Archer and Joyce Andrews claimed joint Third Prize with their lovely front gardens – and a number of other gardens in this road gained certificates too.
Altogether sixty Golden Garden Certificates were awarded, which just shows how committed the residents of Stony Stratford are to enhancing the environment in which they live!
This year we introduced a new award – for community gardens, for those individuals or groups that make a garden in a patch of ground near where they live to brighten the neighbourhood – and these went to two gardens in Mallets Close: number 74, and number 95 Joe McMahon and to the Russell Street Residents. For many, the Church gardens are the jewel in Stony Stratford’s crown, and Stony Stratford in Bloom asked Tony Price to receive an award for all that the Church volunteers do to make Stony Stratford beautiful. Finally, Stony Stratford in Bloom decided that The Plough deserved an award for the glorious display of hanging baskets that gladden the eye in this part of town.
So, many thanks to all those individuals and institutions, who’ve played their part in beautifying the area for the benefit of all. And thanks, too, to Acorn Nurseries for donating the gorgeous plants that we gave out as prizes. We’re also grateful to Rob Gifford, Chair of the Town Council, for providing the celebratory refreshments!
Happy times at the Hog Roast
Ninety visitors descended on York House on 4 July to support Stony Stratford in Bloom’s fundraising Hog Roast with veggie options and puddings. Not only did the event raise over £820 for Stony Stratford in Bloom funds, but lots of people came over to Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers at the end to say what an enjoyable evening they’d had. Kevin O’Brien’s Hog Roast was as mouth-watering as ever, and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers had made a number of tasty veggie alternatives, as well as a truly vast array of spectacularly delicious puddings. What added immensely to the pleasure of the night was the tuneful music from The Fiddle Club – who once again offered their services free.
Jill Pyburn from Back to the Fuchsia supplied a magnificent bouquet as one of the raffle prizes, Brittons Nurseries supplied an attractive impatiens, and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers donated several more raffle prizes.
Spontaneous dancing from a very talented couple provided those who came with a delightful and unexpected floor-show on top of all the other attractions of the evening.
Sunbeams bring an extra sparkle to Stony Stratford on Britain in Bloom judging day
As the sun rose and then obligingly beamed down on Stony Stratford on 2 July not a blade of grass remained untrimmed; not a street sign remained unwashed; not a weed remained unplucked from the gutter; and not a single empty crisp packet was allowed to disfigure Stony Stratford’s highways and byways. A Community Tidy Day on Saturday, 21 June had begun the work, and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers continued their frantic activities right up to the morning of judging.
As always, it was difficult to squeeze in a view of all the different projects in the two hours allowed, but we were able to show the judges much of what Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers and other groups have been doing over the year.
After a fifteen-minute presentation in the Library, the judges were shown the tapestry planting in the Library bed, then swept off to see Queen Eleanor Garden at the north end, which was looking particularly lovely with the cornflowers, corn-cockles and pink roses blooming.
Then they admired the progress made by Mary Robinson, Robin Nicholls and Ron Cox with their North End Pond project. The wild flower meadow looked beautiful, and the moorhen and chicks sailed by on cue, with a little encouragement from Mary’s bread. Robin has built an impressive five-star bug hotel, and he and Mary have made bat and bird boxes for the trees.
The Ancell Trust Sports Ground was looking as immaculate as ever, and this year there were shimmering blue dragonflies hovering over the dragonfly pond in the nature reserve, as well as pretty pink scabious in the wild flower meadow.
The judges were show two schools on the tour – St Mary & St Giles School and Queen Eleanor School, and there were enthusiastic and well-informed pupils in each to guide them round.
There were a number of new projects and places for the judges to view this year: the Stumpery – which is a delightful wild-life area that Karen Parker, Sue Bryant and other Wolverton Road Allotmenteers have created in the orchard there – everything made from recycled elements of one kind or another; the sunflower bed planted by children earlier in the year in the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground – and the dramatic ribbon of red poppies planted closer to the entrance to commemorate the First World War.
This year the judges’ itinerary included Galley Hill, with the Clailey Court bed, which, in its second year, has the height and structure to announce its presence in an eye-catching way. And, of course, there were the older perennial beds to show them: the Four Seasons Garden was looking particularly lovely in the July sunshine, with the salvias, roses and grasses blooming.
A warm spring and early summer had also brought the blossoms in the Stony Stratford Business Association's hanging baskets and the town planters to life – and the Church gardens were looking more resplendent than ever as the judges took their final stroll down Church Street and over to Odell’s Yard.
Once again, the Calcutta Brasserie kindly provided tea and coffee for the judges at the end of the tour, and Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers provided the cakes and savouries.
Though many residents have approached Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers to say how beautiful they think the town looks this year, we’ll have to wait until 17 September to learn what the Britain in Bloom judges thought of the town.
To see what we did previously go to Stony Stratford in Bloom 2014 First Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2013 Second Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2013 First Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2012 Second Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2012 First Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2011, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2010 or Stony Stratford in Bloom 2009.
- Act Up and Act Out Young Persons Drama Group
- Stories, Songs and Ryhmetimes for Under 5s at Stony Stratford Library
- Little Miracles Group