River Wissey Lovell Fuller

October Gardening:

February 2020

Some of you may know that I’m the horticultural advisor and secretary for Brandon in Bloom. Brandon in Bloom is a volunteer group that formed in 2014 and reaches out to the wider community through horticulture. As well as adopting our own areas for our volunteers to design and maintain, we help and encourage other places to do the same, be it a local school, club, business or even a residential street. Brandon in Bloom is part of RHS Anglia in Bloom (You may have watched the TV series Britain in Bloom?). There are many aspects to in bloom, but the core elements are: Horticulture, Environment & community involvement. The very first Britain in Bloom competition was held in 1963. Over 1,600 communities around the UK enter each year, participating in their local regions “in Bloom" campaign. From these regional competitions, roughly 80 communities are selected to enter the national Finals of RHS Britain in Bloom. It is a popular campaign, estimated to involve more than 200,000 volunteers in cleaning up and greening up their local area. Anglia in Bloom was formed in 1996. In 2018, Brandon in Bloom entered the competition for the first time, for our efforts Brandon was awarded as “Best Newcomer” and received a Silver Gilt award in the Town category (6,001 – 12,000 residents). In July, the RHS judges visit all of the villages, towns and cities that are taking part in the competition. They are taken on a tour; this can be any place that the in bloom group chooses. Along the judging route the judges assess every detail they see including litter, weeds, peeling paintwork, faded street signs, everything which shows how well a place is cared for. Brandon was visited by three judges on 12th July, chair of judges Chris Durham, Nolan Mills and trainee judge Paul Robson. The team took the judges on a 4-hour tour of the town in a 1960’s green route master Double Decker bus kindly provided by Arrowpak. We visited many locations including schools, cemetery, country park, bowling club, residential areas, heritage centre, market place and the allotments, as well as Brandon in Blooms adopted areas. On 10th September, a group of 6 people from Brandon, including myself went along to the awards ceremony held at Burgess Hall, St Ives, Cambs. It was a very well attended event, with around 600 people representing their village/ town/ city from the six counties that make up Anglia in Bloom. Our table also had representatives from 2019 newcomers Thetford, so we had a good chat about local issues! The awards kicked off at 10:30am and started with the special awards. The special awards are chosen by all of the judges and Brandon was shortlisted for two awards, Best community Floral Display for “The Wedge” and Environmental Quality award. The second lot of awards are for business areas, and community areas such as Pubs, Restaurants, Parks & cemeteries. Brandon received 2 gold awards in this section, Brandon Country Park for “Large Park” and St Peters Cemetery for “Small Cemetery”. The third set of awards is the overall marks in which the whole area is given, its split into categories based on population. I’m very pleased to report that Brandon received a GOLD in the town category. This achievement is for the WHOLE town not just the Brandon in Bloom team. I was extremely relieved when the announcer said “Brandon Gold” as the whole town had worked extremely hard towards the award and I didn’t want to let anyone down. Chris had told us on judging day that the top judges only visit the best scoring areas, something which he reminded us off at the awards. The final set of awards are for Best Newcomer -Wymondham, Most Improved – Weeley, and finally the overall winner which for 2019 was HUNSTANTON. The day was rounded off with a two-course lunch, followed by raffles and speeches. Brandon are already planning their 2020 campaign, but what about YOUR village? I wholeheartedly recommend any town or village to take part in the competition, its very rewarding and a lot of fun working with like minded volunteers. To learn more visit: https://www.angliainbloom.co.uk/ Here are some gardening tips for October: • Cut back & divide perennials that have died down • Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into a greenhouse or conservatory • In the veg plot plant out spring cabbages and garlic. • Prune climbing roses • Finish collecting seeds from the garden to sow next year

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