We are a team
of volunteers who look after twenty three plant containers and fifteen
flower beds at various roadside sites around Woodstock. Our programme
is funded by the Town Council (aka you, the council tax payer) and is
also very generously supported by the Blenheim Estate who provide masses
of bulbs and annual plants for us each year. Last year twenty five
volunteers shared the work by adopting a single flower bed or by other
activities such as bulb planting. We do not now enter the regional
Britain in Bloom competition, preferring to concentrate on keeping up
the high standard of the flower displays that was achieved by Pauline
Richardson who built up our portfolio of flower beds and barrels over so
many award winning years.
Growing flowers by the roadside brings pleasure to thousands. Any
residents who would like to help are warmly invited to phone Robert
Edwards on 01993 811616.
Cllr Richardson, who was a leading light
in the Woodstock in Bloom team that carried off many awards over the
years, died in 2013. Pauline was involved in many ways throughout
the town, but notably as a town councillor, a church warden, a school
governor and a committee member on the Woodstock Youth Club. She
was instrumental in developing the garden in front of the town's
Community Centre. In her memory the town has recently unveiled two
memorials to this foremost citizen of Woodstock.
A plaque was installed on the Community Centre to recognise her important work on the garden there. It was provided from public subscription with a significant contribution from the town council.
And a planter has been unveiled in the grounds of the Youth Club paid for by grant aid.
Pictured left to right and down: The Community centre wall plaque; Ben Richardson (Pauline's son) at the unveiling; Ben Richardson at the blessing of the planter together with Chris Oliver MBE, recently retired youth club leader and instigator of the memorial planter idea; and the engraved plate on the youth club planter;
At the February 2013 meeting of Woodstock in Bloom we agreed to focus our efforts on keeping up the looks of the plant holders and public flower beds around the town without entering the Britain in Bloom competition this year. Anybody offering to help our team of gardeners will be warmly welcomed. The Royal Horticultural Society now encourages individual streets and small neighbourhoods to join their It ’s Your Neighbourhood scheme to enhance local areas with flowers, shrubs or trees. This is not a competition . It gives access to help and advice from the RHS. If any group of neighbours is interested they can find more about the project at www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Community-gardening/pdf/INY-info-Pack or by contacting Robert Edwards on 811616
A Silver Gilt
in the RHS National Bloom Final
and Winners of Gold in the Regional Finals
Slow worms bring in the GOLD!
In Olympic Year it's good to have a Gold medal from our first event. We are delighted to announce that on 19th September at the Regional Thames and Chiltern round of the Britain in Bloom competition we were given another Gold Award. Back in July two judges came to Woodstock and here are some of the things they say about us on their report sheet.
" Received a warm welcome from volunteers and civic dignitaries --an excellent DVD presentation of activities throughout the year -- Woodstock is clean,tidy and well maintained -- heritage plaques are a valuable addition to the environment -- good balance of perennial and bedding planting -- the colourful tubs and hanging baskets of the central town retailers and residents -- residents work hard to make their "Hollyhock" town beautiful -- the immaculate grounds of Blenheim Palace -- the excellent front gardens; some lawns like green velvet -- the dry garden at the Community Centre presents an attractive display -- the year-by-year planting of spring bulbs -- the new allotments flourishing in spite of bad weather -- the OWL Nature Reserve; its surveys, refuges for wildlife, slow worms delightedly observed -- recycling of waste; our contribution towards WODC's 65% of material recycled -- many community groups involved in all-year round activities; Green Gym, planting sessions, litter picks-- the recycled garden at the primary school -- community spirit and pride of place thrive in Woodstock"
Pictured above is the Woodstock-in-Bloom team of helpers
with the judges from the Royal Horticulatural Society and the Town Mayor
Pictured below is Cllr Pauline Richardson and Barbara Doubtfire receiving the award from the Mayor of Aylesbury
was sad to note the judges comment about the New Road playground where
hundreds of pounds have been spent on attempts to remove several
unsightly graffiti. Clearly there's been some improvement but not enough
to escape a comment which fortunately did not put us below the points
level we needed to get to Gold standard.
Now we look forward to learning how we've done in the "Finals" - the National round of the Britain in Bloom competition. We shall know that in early October. Watch this space!!
More "Bloom" News:-
report on the National Finals Verdict
We are delighted to have been awarded Silver-Gilt standard in the Small Town category of the National Final of the RHS Britain in Bloom Competition, following our Gold level success in the Thames and Chiltern regional round. Wimborne in Dorset won the category so anyone visiting that small town might usefully have an eye to picking up tips for Woodstock!
Of course there is disappointment in not having been awarded Gold but the national judges' report comments indicate just how close to Gold level our entry was.
We have been encouraged by the way people liked to read what the regional judges actually said in their earlier report and so we are doing the same below. You will immediately see how their language and general approach implies a whole lift in the level of expertise required. They need to be shown evidence of our being able to make connections between the pride we have in our community, our horticultural excellence (yes - pretty flowers do come into it !) and the responsibility we show towards our environment. (See their comment on graffiti in the New Road playground)....and this has to be evidenced throughout the year. On this last point we note the sterling background work of John Wood and Barbara Doubtfire who collated images with commentary towards a 30 page portfolio which was also needed. John Whitlock assembled a DVD of Woodstock throughout the year and included several interviews to make our new projects come alive...Ray Kinch on the allotments, Bob Pomfret on the OWL Project – the re-cycled garden at the primary school and I was interviewed with a group of us in the churchyard at the planting of wildflower seeds, this year's RHS special project. So you can see that the Finals call for a range of skills and commitment.
Some extracts from the National judges' Report:
" the enthusiasm of the Bloom Committee -- partnerships with Blenheim Palace and the local community of Woodstock -- extensive use of themed herbaceous and sustainable planting -- clearly a leader in sustainable planting -- the woodland management vision and its compatibility with the adjacent estate and wider landscape -- to be congratulated for developing a community allotment site in this most difficult of years -- the exceptional quality of the palace grounds -- the excellent museum gardens -- plotting flaura and fauna as part of the OWL Project -- the Forest Schools’ Programme -- use of solar power -- signage and promotion of the community woodland -- the entertaining and well though out DVD -- excellent involvement of the Green Gym -- the Bloom group's commitment to the involvement of local children -- many examples of involvement in local history --the community garden at Glyme Close.
The regional judges had commented on the evidence of underlying graffiti in the New Road playground. Much money had been spent on attempts to remove this most stubborn of defacements which had appeared earlier in the summer. The national judges were quick to fix on the same point. This caused us to lose marks and, together with the less than satisfactory cutting of the roadside verges by the District Council the day before judging, cost us the Gold standard.
Nevertheless, to be nominated for the National finals of Bloom, one of only 72 communities throughout the United kingdom is a considerable honour. It's not for the faint-hearted as Robert Edwards, overseeing the road weeding will testify. A big thank you to all who weeded, watered, planted and picked up the four hundred black bags of litter, weeds and dirt off the streets. Brian Jennings and Spencer Hughes were valiant representatives of this group which included many more.
We equipped ourselves well, harnessing the enthusiasm and involvement of the community more than ever before. So well done Woodstock!
Cllr. Pauline Richardson, Chair and on behalf of Woodstock in Bloom.