On Tuesday 27th of July, I met with the appointed judges of North West in Bloom – part of the nationwide Britain in Bloom initiative. The idea was to encourage all towns and villages to present colourful and environmentally friendly displays around their communal areas.
The desire of Britain in Bloom is not just wonderful floral displays but to encourage greater energy in planting to assist nature and our environment, and to involve as many in the community as possible.
The judges are independent and in fact John Shepley and John Bisborough hail from the Wigan/Horwich area of Lancashire. They were last here about 5 years ago.
We met on the car park and after our introductions, I walked with them across the playing field. The field was so active with boys and girls playing football and the playground full of children on the swings etc. A perfect picture of an active village life. We walked down the path to the Shroppie, explaining how we plan to upgrade the pathway making it safer.
Once at the wharf, we spoke to Peter and Christine who have revitalised the Mill Shop, and explained how we involve the children of our primary school in growing a nominated plant each year through their summer holidays – this year's selection is Sweetcorn.
We continued along the canal bank past the shrubbery planted by ADAS over 10 years ago and I explained how we planted 4000 English bluebells by the bridge, along with 3000 daffodils and narcissi.
We stepped out onto the road, where the judges where immediately impressed by the magnificent display of hanging baskets at the Bridge Inn. I told of the dedication that Nigel and Bridie have put into making the Bridge look so good, and how we now have three thriving pubs in contrast to many villages.
On to the Square and the Church Bank. The Church bed is alive with wonderful fragrant lavender and there must have been 60 or more bees collecting pollen from the surrounding bushes, much to the judges delight.
We then popped over the road to the Coffee Lounge meeting Debbie and Vernon. The judges enjoyed a Victoria Sponge – superbly baked by young Lauren.
Out to the Square, and I walked them over to the Lord Combermere to see the contrast from 5 years ago. An amusing unscripted moment occurred, when I met with one of the pupils from our school. I asked how her plants were doing and she said "Well, Mr Warburton, the chickens ate some of them, but then the fox ate the chickens, so my other plants are OK!"
A good day and the village was immaculate, Gavin our Lengthsman had done a great job and all had responded so well to making their patch look good.
Thank you all, and as I said as the judges were leaving, 'we in ADAS and Audlem in Bloom do all we do for the benefit of the residents and our visitors . Not just on the day of judging!
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