Bradley Stoke in Bloom autumn 2019 update

Photo of two decoy ducks on the pond at The Common East.

By Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.

Although we were delighted to welcome some newbies to our team (Kamil, Kelly, Suzanne, Stevie and Tom), as soon as they started we entered the holiday season and we all took some well earned time off. We haven’t been completely slacking off though, as in one week we managed to take part in a South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) ‘working in water’ training day, run a volunteers’ day, present prizes for a decoy duck competition, be interviewed by the BBC and be judged by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

In between showers, we’ve also managed to replant our ‘Welcome to Bradley Stoke’ planters. We appreciate they are not as showy as Thornbury’s but we are a much smaller group. Neither do we have the luxury of having them watered by council staff, so we keep ours more low maintenance and sustainable. We did, though, have time to oil the ‘welcome’ and herb garden planters themselves and, before winter sets in, we hope to add another coat – if only we can find a dry spell long enough!

The Aztec triangle also took a long while to weed and dead head all the flowers that had gone over, but it looks so much better for it. We also managed to get in a few autumn flowering plants

At home, I sometimes feel we are the Mecca for all of the town’s slugs and snails who happily chomp their way though anything I buy, including the grasses and sunflowers that I had been given as a birthday gift. So, in an effort to save them, they have been planted at Aztec too (just please don’t tell my mother).

At The Common East pond, our decoy ducks were vandalised and although they were replaced (the new ones were ‘launched’ by Cllr Paul Hughes when he delivered our Bees’ Needs Award), we decided the new ones should have new names, so the Friends at Wheatfield School ran a small competition to choose them.

Connor won with ‘Daisy and Donald’ although Isabelle’s suggestion of ‘Suki and Rocket’ was a close second. We really hope that Connor and Isabelle enjoyed their small duck ‘thank you’s’ and that everyone appreciated their certificates.

Manor Farm Roundabout

Photo of the owl figure in the display at Manor Farm Roundabout. Photo of the dog figure in the display at Manor Farm Roundabout.

When we were interviewed by the BBC, it was all about Debbie and her friends and their unwanted adventures of which they do seem to have rather a lot of, mostly on bank holiday Sundays. The interviewer was most impressed that we hadn’t just given up and removed everything but, as we said to the RHS judges, we feel that this display has given Bradley Stoke its heart. We’ve had more posts and had more questions about Debbie and her roundabout than all the other ‘in Bloom’ sites put together!

While I was away, Debbie and Super Pig gained another friend, or two to be precise – a dog to watch out for those ‘pesky adults’ and a wise owl to watch over them all. There was a bit of concern by their previous owners when it was discovered that footage was taken of vandals on the roundabout but we didn’t think adding to the menagerie counted as more vandalism, so their identity shall remain a secret that is safe with us.

Debbie is looking a little tired by all her adventures and we are thinking that maybe, as with all cows, she should not be left outside in the cold rain all winter. So, don’t be surprised if one day soon she leaves the roundabout, although we promise she will reappear in the spring.

RHS judging

Photo of an RHS ‘In Your Neighbourhood’ judge with BSiB volunteers at Manor Farm Roundabout.

Ceri and I both dashed home from work to meet Guy Rawlinson who was our RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ judge this year. It was expected that we would show Guy and his charming wife three of our sites in just over an hour However, we all seemed to find much to talk about and more than two hours later they departed in good humour and just in time to catch a film with friends. The RHS results are given at their main awards presentation event in October, which this year is being held in Newquay so until then we shall keep our fingers crossed.

We have been helping out with the wildflower strips on Brook Way, mainly removing weeds such as rape seed oil plants, so we were just a little surprised one day to see that the grass had been cut and left but the wildflowers had been cut and removed. We have always been told to cut and then to leave the arisings for a while so that all the seeds can drop, we contacted SGC to ask why the change in method and it seems they have a new contractor.

Although it seems so long ago now, we were delighted to be asked by local company Lionbridge if they could help out, so we decided on continuing Green Gym’s work on Primrose Bridge. Although it was a very hot day, their 14 staff buckled down and managed to remove much bramble, which was replaced with more bee- and butterfly-friendly plants. Although being south facing, the bank is an ideal spot. The ground was too tough to dig, so we used a battery operated drill with an auger attachment, it may not be an orthodox method, but it certainly worked. After a break for lunch, with several delicious homemade cakes supplied by Liz, we also put up several butterfly boxes which will provide a place for butterflies to overwinter. The local Girl Guides are busy making us some butterfly displays to mark out the area as a butterfly garden.

We were delighted to be told that we had been nominated by a friend to join up with the company Carbon Footprint Ltd to take part in their UK Tree Planting Project. This is where commercial partners sponsor trees to be planted around the UK to support biodiversity, enhance the natural landscape and offset the sponsor’s carbon emissions. We have several areas where we wish to plant more trees, but we would open to any suggestions if you know of an area in need of a little greenery.

Photos: 1 Decoy ducks on the pond at The Common East. 2 & 3 Owl and dog figures in the display at Manor Farm Roundabout. 4 An RHS ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ judge with BSiB volunteers at Manor Farm Roundabout.

• Map of Bradley Stoke in Bloom’s work locations (under construction)

How to contact Bradley Stoke in Bloom:

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 14 & 15). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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