Stratford-upon-Avon in Bloom competitions 2022.
The 2022 standard of front gardens was simmilar to 2021. However, there seemed to be a more competitive spirit showing, as out of the nine Town wards, there were six new winning wards compared to the previous year. The only three wards to retain their winning status were, Bishopton, Guild Hall and Shottery. There was also a new overall winning ward and that was Hathaway, which snached the title away from Guildhall Ward, the 2021 overall winner.
It was though a close call between Hathaway, Guildhall and Shottery, with its variety of planting getting Hathaway Ward over the line as the winner. For 2023 we will be looking to see more perannualls in gardens than we did previously, as it's more environmentally friendly than planting annuals.
School competition winners and judges comments.
Each spring, Stratford in Bloom contacts all the primary and nursery schools in the town to let them know what our theme is and to invite them to enter our annual schools competition. Previous themes have included: blooms for bees, garden in a wheelbarrow and butterflies.
In 2022, our theme was rewilding and prizes include a selection of wildlife books, bird nesting boxes, identification cards, sseds and games were awarded by the Stratford in Bloom committee and local Friends of the Earth group.
Nursery schools: Stratford-upon-Avon in Bloom competition Judging 2022
Footsteps Nursery (Winner)
Delightful small child and ‘bug’ friendly ‘pond’ (a plant pot in a basket). Clever use of the sandpit (filled with potting medium) to use as a potting bench. Good use of raised beds for flowers and vegetables and fun painted pots.
Polkadot Childcare (Runners up)
Despite a small area, pots painted as, or covered with paper made crowns to cover the base. Continuing the Jubilee theme, the use of red, white and blue coloured flowers. Some very tall bee friendly sunflowers and a wooden train and three carriages filled with flowers.
Caring Kindergartens (Friends of the Earth prize)
A range of different habitats including established shrubs, flowering herbs and long grass/wildflower area, all managed in an ecologically sympathetic way. The garden is clearly used to its full potential with the children given every opportunity to play in and interact with nature.
A wonderful enthusiasm permeates this area – the planting is integrated with the surrounding play areas. Attention has been paid to biodiversity with a cross section of plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs all attracting insects. Good use of photographs showing the children carrying out their activities.
Primary Schools: Stratford-upon-Avon in Bloom competition Judging 2022
Bridgetown Primary School (School Category Winner)
Led with great enthusiasm by reception teacher Amanda Calvo who has very engaged and enthusiastic pupils. There is a skilful use of old tyres and planters containing sunflowers, beans and herbs and a Belfast sink turned into a pond, (especially enjoyed for quiet contemplation of frogs). There is a bug hotel and a scarecrow watching over the crops. There was an explosion of radishes which the children bravely tried! The garden is overlooked by the Head’s office and area where others can stand or sit and enjoy the view! A colourful photo album shows the progress of the activity through the Spring to now, recording the mini beast wheelbarrow with painted stones from a previous project, for drainage!
Stratford Primary School, Broad Street (Runners Up)
A courtyard area where the pupils had painted raised beds and seats. Ample use of tyres for fixed planters and 2 tractor tyres with trees in.
Lots of plants – strawberries. Some variety of colour (each child brought in a plant). The school ran their own competition for pupils to make “insects” out of recycled materials – some delightful ants made out of golf balls, lots of butterflies and bees. A fabulous lifesize hedgehog made of golf balls and some interesting penguins and colourful fish made imaginatively from milk containers. Brightens up a small area along 2 sides of the school.
Welcombe Hills School (Highly Commended)
Welcoming entrance to the school with a beautiful display of colourful plants nestled in collections of old wellington boots. The flowers and soil donated and loving planted by the children after spraying the wellies in a variety of colours including the Queen’s Jubilee colour purple. There is a long border stretching several classrooms stacked full of repeated planting of Buddleia, Lavender, Valerian with some French Marigolds, Snapdragons and Crocosmia mixed in. All of them insect friendly and covered in bees. Around the school there are planted up containers and a wild flower mix area.
Commemorative Pledge Plaques 2022
Once again Stratford-upon-Avon in Bloom is offering supporters the opportunity to sponsor one of our hanging basket plaques.
Local businesses have been using the format “Sponsored by …” followed by their business logo, while other supporters have used our plaques to celebrate a life event, to remember a loved one, or to mark an anniversary. The choice is yours!
This year’s plaques and hanging baskets will reflect our 2022 colour scheme of red, white and blue, to honour Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The hanging baskets will be put up shortly after the end of May (as soon as all danger of frost is past), and the plaques will go up immediately afterwards. The baskets and plaques will be taken down in early October, just before the annual Mop Fair.
We have simplified the sponsorship programme: plaques will be for the 2022 season only, and will cost £35 each to sponsor. For more details on how to order and pay for your plaque, and to agree the wording of your inscription, please contact Stratford-upon-Avon in Bloom Deputy Chair, Dr Rosalind Winter, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For supporters who sponsored a plaque last year for more than a single season: your plaque will automatically be renewed and put up again this year – you don’t need to do anything!
Friends Of Stratford Station
I have always had an ambition to make our station garden as cared for as the Victorian Station Masters seemed to care for their station gardens in the railways hey-day.
I had thought about our platform so often and spoke to several railway enthusiasts in Stratford, but it never quite happened.
The idea came into focus when Brenda Lawrence, London Midland, came to the Town Council in 2016 to talk about plans to upgrade the station buildings. I was a Town Council Representative on the Stratford-in-Bloom Committee, and they were looking for a community project to support. Hey Presto!
I put out a plea on social media for volunteers for FOSS, Friends of Stratford Station, and 4 residents stepped up and we met to lay plans. Avon Services were signed up straight away and they were magnificent. The guys took on watering the planters throughout the first two Summers even though that meant carrying watering cans over the bridge.
So much to do to get going: -
- Become an ‘adopter’, which involved registering the group with LM and safety training
- Join ACoRP – Association of Community Rail Partnerships – the organization for all community groups with railway related schemes.
- Look for independent sponsorship / funding
- Warwickshire County Council gave help and advice.
The first practical thing to do was to remove the massive cypress trees from the platform garden. London Midland were just fantastic and sent a team to fell and grub up the overgrown trees, cut up old concrete blocks and lay a weed barrier and re gravel the platform.
Next Blenheim Nurseries provided three planters and planted them up. Rosconn were generous in offering sponsorship and Tesco gave bulbs. We were on our way, and all went well for two years. Then came Covid 19 and everything came to a shuddering standstill. We are just getting started again.
The local Rail Passenger Group, known as the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group then stepped forward which led to its Secretary, Fraser Pithie forming the Friends of the Shakespeare Line Community Station Partnership and working miracles by getting all stations between Stratford and Birmingham adopted by volunteers and sponsorship for the whole route from Earlswood Garden and Landscape Centre who have provided 3 more planters for Stratford upon Avon. Forest of Hearts have come on board with help, peat free compost and homegrown plants, all insect friendly.
None of this could have happened without the huge support from the new franchise, West Midlands through the fantastic Dorridge / Stratford Line Manager Ian Taylor supported Fay Easton Head of Stakeholder & Community for West Midlands Railway.
Our latest effort has been to clear the sand box on platform 2 to make a large tree planter for the cherry tree. Jon Knight, a great new volunteer, brought his axe and mattock and beavered away for several days to slowly chip out a mass of roots from the cypress tree removed from here earlier this year. A truly massive job.
None of this would have happened without the fantastic support and enthusiasm from all concerned with the project. Great hopes and plans for next year.
Stratford Town Council agreed a Climate Emergency Motion last year and set up a group to see what could be done to reduce the carbon footprint and enhance biodiversity of the town.
It is apparent that there are many residents in the area who would like to grow wild flowers, and have an abundance of environmental ideas. There are also community groups that may be a little more ambitious, but are unsure of where to start.
The Town Council therefore thought it would be helpful to set up a group, where people can share their ideas, experiences and offer advice. The group has been set up on WhatsApp and is called Stratford Goes Wild.
Rewilding connects people back with nature. It provides many benefits giving people a sense of time and seasonal change.
If you are interested in joining this group of people with shared interests and can chat, seek advice and share your ideas, plus benefit from others experience, please contact Cohl Warren-Howles at Cohl.Warren-Howles@stratford-tc.gov.uk.
Riverside Project Updates
There are three main allotment sites in Stratford, at Shottery, Alveston and Tiddington. These plots provide important growing space for residents and contribute to the network of green spaces throughout the town. Prior to scaling back of our local competition due to the pandemic, our judging team visited the allotment sites each summer - something we hope to resume in the future. For more information about Stratford's allotments, visit:
2) Church Lane Allotments contact: Town Trust enquiries call 01789 207111 or email: email@example.com
3) Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01789 26933.