Posts Tagged ‘Bradley Stoke in Bloom’

‘In Bloom’ volunteers give town a spring clean

Posted on Sunday 10th March 2019 at 9:03 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of BSiB volunteers with collected rubbish.

An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.

This month once again saw us take part in South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Spring Clean campaign. Keeping a wary eye on the gathering clouds, we set off from the doctors’ surgery on Brook Way armed with hoops, litter pickers and an alarming assortment of different coloured bags. Once, a task like litter picking was simple, but now it seems to be governed by a Byzantine set of rules. However, we mostly managed to use the right bags and to separate the recyclable and the rubbish. Maybe I only have myself to blame for this, as listening to a talk from SGC on how we needed to do our bit and recycle more, I did point out that we residents are mostly doing all we can, but all the rubbish from the street bins goes straight to landfill, even if it had been sorted first! Soon after that, we received a new set of rules stipulating that blue bags are for rubbish, clear for recycling and black will not be collected, so maybe our observation was taken on board.

Our morning route took us along The Common East, Brackendene and along Bradley Stoke Way to the Aztec West Roundabout, stopping only to pat dogs and chat, something I like to think of as my second hobby. Many people told us that they always pick up rubbish while walking their dog, and I do feel that these unsung heroes are regularly doing something which is probably far more beneficial to the town than our spring time blitz. I’m sure you would all like to join me in thanking them all for their efforts.

At one time, SGC would give regular helpers their own litter picker, although I’m not sure they still do. I’m sure I’ll hear the words ‘budget constraints’, but it seems a very small outlay to win the ongoing battle of keeping our town clean.

More: 20 bags of litter left for collection by the town council »

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Positive start to the year for the Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers

Posted on Wednesday 13th February 2019 at 9:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers with an insect hotel at Manor Farm Corner.

An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.

First of all, I must say a big welcome to our newbies, Tom, Stevie and Suzanna. I’m just hoping we didn’t put them off on their first day with the huge amount of work we all accomplished, although they were well rewarded in biscuits, and the rain did finally stop! After a slightly late start (mix up with the padlock keys) we began at the Manor Farm Corner (Brook Way / Savages Wood Road). Or maybe that should be corners, as we’ve taken over the adjacent corner as well. The established corner was weeded and pruned and we put in some of my personal favourites: hostas and irises which were a gift from Almondsbury Garden Centre. The ‘new’ corner saw the remaining bramble dug up, an ongoing and thankless task, and the border weeded. Photo of a young BSiB helper.Before we knew it, Suzanna had whizzed round and put in a very neat looking edge, so now not only does the dogwood add a welcome splash of winter colour, but it all looks so much more professional. Under the trees, we have left the dandelions, as these are one of the first plants to flower in the spring and they give the newly woken bees a much needed boost. And we have finally installed the insect hotel, which was made during a skate park working day. Although we have kept it low, so that it can’t be used to climb over the wall, it is still large enough for many insects and there is even space underneath for a hedgehog ‘des-res’. There are special places for butterflies to overwinter and for solitary bees to lay their eggs, as well as many snug hiding places for all manner of creepy crawlies to enjoy, although I do find that they tend to ignore our carefully designed plans and just go where they feel like! Tom added the finishing touches to Stevie’s roof, while a young Max helped us to put in a few more bee homes and then the job was done.

More: The rose garden, The Common East and Aztec Triangle »

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Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers frustrated by bureaucracy

Posted on Saturday 19th January 2019 at 6:33 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke in Bloom.An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.

As 2018 draws to a close, we look back at what we’ve achieved this year and although we didn’t get done all I had hoped to, we have, for such a small group, achieved quite a bit! High points were winning the Bees Needs’ award (for The Common East), our giant carrots at Rabbit Roundabout, the Primrose Bridge steps (see photo, below) and judging the fabulous gardens that were entered for our ever-expanding Best Front Garden competition. But there have been many low points – vandalism and graffiti lowers the morale of the group, our inability to reconnect with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and their ‘In your Neighbourhood’ scheme and the lack of communication and support from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), to name but a few.

The Bees Needs’ award has placed a spotlight on our work and the lack of any agreement with SGC. We have recently had a meeting with one of their officers and I am trying very hard to view our discussions in a positive light, in the hope of finally securing a positive working relationship with them, although I have yet to be convinced that this can be achieved. They seem terribly keen to ‘manage’ the group, which is great if you want compliance, but if you want engagement and creativity then self direction works better. We did in the beginning try very hard to agree a direction with SGC, but with every request being met with either a refusal or silence, we chose to do what I’m told every other ‘in Bloom’ group does, and just get on with it. ‘Better to seek forgiveness than permission’ has been suggested as a new strap line!

We are funded by Bradley Stoke Town Council, who seem to trust the knowledge and judgement of their volunteers. They understand that too many rules prevent innovation and originality and destroy the intrinsic motivation of people who volunteer because they enjoy it, find it interesting and want to be part of something that is important, both to themselves and to their community. But others seem reluctant to agree to anything, thinking they are insuring against disaster, but what they’re ensuring is mediocrity. Too many petty rules and we lose our spirit. Hopefully, they will listen to us this time as, ironically for an ‘in Bloom’ group, we do not have an infinite supply of olive branches!

And on that positive note, we really need more volunteers! I would like to see our website given an overhaul (not something I can do) and we really need more help on our workdays. You don’t need to have much experience or a great knowledge of gardening (green side up, brown side down covers most of it), but you will need working boots, a smile, an ability to eat vast amounts of biscuits and a desire to see our little town bloom! Make 2019 your year to grow, not just greenery for your town but for you to grow as a member of this community!

More: Photo of rainbow steps. Contact details for BSiB. »

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Common buzzing again thanks to award-winning project

Posted on Wednesday 19th December 2018 at 9:40 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Cllr Paul Hughes with StreetCare staff, volunteers from Bradley Stoke Green Gym & Bradley Stoke in Bloom and children from Wheatfield Primary School.

A South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) community project has won a national award for creating a wildlife haven at The Common East in Bradley Stoke.

The project picked up a Bees’ Needs Award 2018 during a ceremony at Kew Gardens on 13th November, hosted by Defra and Green Flag Award, in recognition of the work done to transform the site into a wildflower meadow to encourage pollinators and make it a pollinator-friendly habitat.

In recent years, the common had been unmanaged and the grassland was overgrown with brambles and scrub, so a project was devised to bring it back into active management whilst enhancing the community space for pollinating insects.

Working with national wildlife charity Buglife’s Urban Buzz project, the council set out to turn the site into a buzzing hotspot.

Last autumn, the scrub was cut back and the land prepared for sowing. Pupils from Wheatfield Primary School, which borders the common, visited the site and spread wildflower seed mix with the chair of the council.

Heavy snow covered the common last winter, but the hot summer produced a blaze of colourful flowers for bees and other insects to enjoy. Ecologists have surveyed the site and recorded a high variety of wildflowers, including an abundance of yellow rattle, which will weaken the grass, enabling more space for wildflowers to grow.

This autumn, volunteers from the town’s Green Gym and Bradley Stoke in Bloom cut the meadow with traditional scythes. The cuttings were stacked and left for a few weeks before the council collected it to be composted.

More: "A very successful and important community partnership" »

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