Stony In Bloom Carry On The Good Work In Our Town

Mon 11 May 2020 - posted by Melanie Hyde


Stony Stratford In Bloom have been continuing their fabulous work in the town despite how the Coronavirus has impacted us and what we are allowed to do. Here is an update from their Chair, Judy Deveson, about the amazing work they have been doing to ensure our town continues to be the beautiful place that we are all so proud of. They have kept strictly to government social distancing guidelines, but they have managed to keep the community spirit going by doing things as individuals (as part of their exercise stint) that contribute to the town in one way or another. Thank you so much Stony Stratford In Bloom!

Update from Stony Stratford In Bloom
- As allotments have been allowed to remain open, including York House Community Gardens, I suggested to Ken Daniels that SSIB volunteers could individually grow vegetables on the plots that couldn't be used by Branchout, Mind or Phoenix Rising, and then could harvest them and donate them to a local Food Bank. They thought that was an excellent idea, so that's what we've done. I've organised a rota so there's just one person at a time to water, weed or plant, and it's worked really well. SSIB volunteers and members of the London Rd Allotments have donated spare seedlings and potatoes and we'll be using the polytunnel there for tomatoes and courgettes. Some people have taken selfies of themselves and the plot they're working on, others have just photographed what they've done.


- Kate Shaw, who set up the Yo Yos Playgroup at York House, has worked there with her two little girls, Eleni and Fleur, and they've achieved a huge amount, and will continue as part of SSIB even after lockdown is over, which is wonderful. As she worked as a family group she was able to take some pictures. They also planted all the sunflowers that I'd originally helped the Yo Yos Playgroup children to sow before lockdown.

- Two of our other projects relate to sunflowers. Clare George, who has also been recruited to SSIB now she's retired, suggested that we offer free sunflowers to children, to be picked up from her door step - two each. Odell's donated the sunflowers, and this has been very popular.

- She also suggested that SSIB volunteers could perhaps grow sunflowers which we could then distribute to the doorsteps of vulnerable people who haven't been allowed to leave their houses. (Clare, who is younger than most of the rest of us, said she was happy to do the distributing - and lots of SSIB volunteers are nurturing the sunflowers.)

- Bianca Bendig-Ceesay has been continuing work with the Fullers Slade It's Your Neighbourhood group, and the beds there are looking good. Bianca has also been involved in a project to get spider plants to vulnerable people on lockdown. She's grown the plants and Eve Caddy potted them up.  

- The Fullers Slade It's Your Neighbourhood Group has, like our SSIB group, been acting as a Covid 19 support group, though Bianca and others have also been donating food, which she has taken to those people in need. When we harvest the vegetables from the York House plot, Bianca will be able to collect them so she can distribute them to those in need.

- The RHS wrote to me to ask what SSIB had been doing, and I explained all that I've explained here, and Ideal Home put her press release on their website. Woman's Own is doing a piece with the lovely photo of Clare George with the sunflowers she has sowed in their June edition.

- The other project is sharing pictures of our gardens on our Facebook Page (and I've been emailing the SSIB group with pictures sent to me, as not all our volunteers are on Facebook.) We've also invited Stony residents to post pictures on our page, which has brought a great response.

- Finally, we've just decided that we'll have a virtual plant sale - with those with plants from their gardens to sell letting me know, so I can circulate what's available to the group, then people can pick up from doorsteps and pop a donation through my door.

- We won't be leaving the winter planters empty when we take out the winter plants at the end of May. The Town Council has agreed with our idea of a reduced display - just geraniums. Only the winter planters will be used so it would be manageable and individual SSIB volunteers could take responsibility for individual planters in terms of emptying, planting up and watering. We hope that residents near the planters will also offer to help with watering - and as geraniums are drought resistant that should help. Sadly we won't be able to manage to plant up Wolverton Rd roundabout or the baskets above the tree planters as they would be too difficult to water.

- Individual SSIB volunteers are also taking out weeds from the beds as part of their exercise, provided that there is no danger of being close to other residents as they do so.

I think that's about it!  However, as you can see, we're keeping the community spirit afloat!

Judith Deveson, Chair, Stony Stratford In Bloom