By Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.
It’s been six months since I wrote an ‘in Bloom’ column and what a six months it has been! Although I sometimes felt that I was nailed to the spot as the Covid-19 storm raged around me, sweeping aside all that I thought I knew, Mother Nature was having none of it and seized the moment and bloomed. The traffic that used to queue daily past our house no longer drowned out the dawn chorus and the resulting fumes no longer polluted the air. Our cherry tree sprang into life, its fruit still bright and clean while the bees and other insects seemed to buzz happily all day long. In our garden we had nesting blackbirds, sparrows, blue tits and robins who were taking advantage of the increased insect population to feed their broods.
Although the lockdown prevented us from meeting as a group, I did manage to have a pair of secateurs or a trowel in my pocket on our allowed daily walks and do a few bits and pieces, and again at Easter and VE Day we appeared through the early morning mist to decorate our planters and the Manor Farm Roundabout. Although Treacle, the Manor Farm roundabout dog has gone missing, Debbie the heifer, complete with quarantine tape, made a very welcome return. The community herb garden had some spring additions, although we see a pigeon has set up home over one of the boxes and has generously supplied much fertilizer for the strawberries. Much as we may appreciate the gesture, we have moved away any plants that were in its firing line! The Brook Way wildflowers strips are regularly checked and de-brambled for SGC. The Primrose Bridge ‘rainbow’ steps had yet another repaint and, despite the lockdown rules, scything the orchard was never going to be a problem, as most sensible people seeing me with a 2ft blade keep much more than 6ft away!
The RHS has abandoned its annual competitions for this year, which may be a good thing, as we were not sure how we could have topped the Gold that we scooped last year! However, we have decided to run our Best Front Garden Competition again as I don’t know about you, but I kept myself sane during lockdown by getting on with my garden ‘to do’ list, and judging by some of the wonderful gardens we saw on our daily walks, I wasn’t the only one using ‘garden therapy’.
Although you won’t be able to collect the entry forms from the town council office this year, you can still post them there once complete. The forms are available from our Facebook page, our own website, or from the town council website. The closing date for applications is 4pm on Friday 17th July 2020 and we hope the judging will be done the following week.
And although we’ve been asked to consider running a back garden competition too, that won’t be possible this year for obvious reasons.
If you still feel your garden isn’t quite there yet, why not nominate one of your neighbours’ gardens instead?
Related link: Best Front Garden competition entry form (on the BSTC website)
How to contact Bradley Stoke in Bloom:
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 16 & 17). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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