An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.
Sadly, some of our work has been the target of vandalism in recent weeks, both at the Twinned Roundabout (bottom of Brook Way) and The Common East.
We, and many of the town’s residents, were hugely disappointed to see that our beehive was again targeted by vandals and although their first attempt failed, their second attempt to do some damage did not. Two panels, the roof and the supports posts have all been badly damaged, some beyond repair and many plants were trampled and will need to be replaced. From the complete hand print one of them kindly left on the roof we know that at least one of them has small childish hands and earlier had probably tried to climb something painted with anti climb paint. This is criminal damage and it has formally been reported to the police as such.
On a positive note, although it is a genuine ‘WBC’ hive, for the safety of the contractors who cut the grass, we had removed the base and the combs to discourage real bees from nesting in it, so no bee colony was harmed in the attack. In further good news, Almondsbury Garden Centre has offered to replace all the damaged plants for free, and once the police have finished with the roof, the hive will be repaired and replaced.
The Common East
The Common has also been the target of ongoing vandalism. Some of the decorative plastic bugs in the ‘bug hotel’ have been smashed, one of the gate post tops has been broken, the butterfly decorations and the butterfly houses have all been broken and thrown in the pond (killing all of the pupae that were inside), the wildflowers have been trampled and a bird box was damaged leaving two feathered chicks inside to die. The bench was in the pond more than it was out and ‘Kate’, one of the plastic ducks, had been damaged, so it was decided for the time being to remove them all. Worst of all, the gnome, ‘Grahame John Williams’, has gone, and I fear has come to a sticky end, lying broken and alone in a watery grave!
Again this is criminal damage and has been reported to the police, who have increased their patrols in this area.
Although we’ve lost two apple trees in the orchard, we’ve already replaced one with a loganberry and we’ve also replaced all the bee water bowls – these are full of marbles which allows the insects to get at the water without falling in and drowning. We’ve also been creating wild flower patches; the rare small blue butterfly depends on kidney vetch and we were very excited to spot one close to our flower patch.
Although we have been asked to bring forward our plans for the other roundabouts in the town, we are now wondering if this is wise, if everything we do is just going to be trashed. We no longer leave wooden signs at our sites as these are taken or broken within a couple of days. When we visit other, much more deprived areas, and see their wonderful roundabout displays and decorations, it seems such a shame that we in Bradley Stoke are to be denied such things in our own town.
Many people reported seeing at the Manor Farm Roundabout, a farm gate, a cow and some milk urns, but were left wondering if they’d imagined it, as when they returned, they had vanished! On this occasion, this wasn’t a case of rustling and Debbie the heifer is safe. We were just measuring out our farm-themed plans for this roundabout, which will include a fallen milk urn and a swathe of white flowers to represent spilt milk.
We then headed off to see how many other areas we could maintain in one afternoon – quite a few it seems! Palmers Leaze corner and roundabout had a tidy up, as did the Valentine Tree area. The community herb garden at Brook Way was weeded and new herbs put in and the doctors’ surgery garden and rose garden had a much needed weeding. We looked at an area in Snowberry Close that we’d like to turn into a pond and chose the site for a couple of new insect hotels before heading off to the Willow Brook Centre to add a few more plants to our planters. Everything you find in our ‘kitchen garden’ is edible and the planter is now over flowing with rhubarb, potatoes, tomatoes, rosemary, mint, peppers, mint, strawberries, cabbage, purple sprout, sugar snap peas, pansies, chard, chillies and courgettes!
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Photos: 1 Vandalised decorative beehive on Sherbournes Brake (Twinned) Roundabout. 2 Herb garden at the doctors’ surgery on Brook Way. 3 How the Twinned Roundabout looked in April.
This is an abridged version of an article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 10 & 11). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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