Latest News from Stone in Bloom

Finished the Anchor bed
Finished the Anchor bed

Our working group of Stone in Bloom volunteers is doing what it does best and that’s spruce up Stone, clearing all those little problem areas . Our good friend Mick Plant (Stone Town Council maintenance manager) spent all day one Sunday taking out the dead tree from the bed by Mojo’s, making way for everyone to see the fruit trees Stone in Bloom planted a few months ago which are now in blossom.

We have cleared the anchor bed in Stafford Street of weeds and left the edible plants and herbs which are thriving. If anyone would like to help themselves, use a good pair of scissors to cut the tops off and please don’t take the artichokes until they’re ripe and ready. The small orchard we’ve planted on the amphitheatre is doing really well and is in blossom, when the fruit is ready to pick then the same goes as for the herbs, please help yourselves but carefully, we would like the trees to be there for years and years.

Exciting news from Stonefield Park, the raised bed designed by Steve Fradley and project managed by his partner Barbara is almost finished. They and other members have been working on it for weeks and its worth going to have a look at. If you have any plants to spare that love shade then please take them along to the park and place them by the bed and we’ll make sure we use them. It has been a very expensive exercise and we are hugely grateful to the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette for their sponsorship of the building materials. Also thank you to Rob Ainsworth at Mill Farm Organics who once again has been so helpful providing us with top soil. Chris Brown of Streetscene what would we do without you, you’re a star and well worth a mention!

Steve Fradely & Dawn Johnson ( Is it Level?)
Steve Fradely & Dawn Johnson ( Is it Level?)

The annual competitions are now in full swing and volunteer Glenys Sanders has walked miles picking up the school posters which total over one thousand. She has visited every school to let them know arrangements for the School Garden judging date. The pubs have all been notified of the date for the Best Pub Garden judging and all members are looking forward to it. Funny how many members always want to be involved with that competition and how many can’t remember next day what the judges’ comments were!

This year Stone in Bloom’s members have been hit by an uncanny amount of bad luck and how on earth we have done so much with so few members fit to work I have no idea. We have experienced everything except a swarm of locusts and that we fear is on its way! We are all exhausted and morale is at its lowest as when we decided on the judging route we believed it to be perfect, how wrong could we be? First of all the A34 road works at Meaford was announced and work began, we thought it would be ok as we could allow for the timing to take into account slow traffic flow and congestion, perhaps we could leave the route as it was . Severn Trent then made public their plans for work to start on June 15th – July 20th on sewer drainage on Mount Road, Mount Avenue and Station Road which will affect another part of our planned route as diversions will be in place. One of the regular areas on route that we take the Heart of England in Bloom judges is Stonefield Park, yes you’ve guessed it part of the park will be closed for three weeks while the play area is given a lick of paint. As a group we are very proud of the park and that is why we have built the raised bed in the park. It’s taken hours of work by our volunteers making sure that the shaded area will have a full complement of plants that will grow and thrive. I’m afraid it was a step too far when we were asked by Stafford Borough Council if we would contribute £400 for the park benches to be repainted prior to the “In Bloom” judging, if we wanted the benches to be painted by judging day. You can imagine it was a unanimous NO from the group; we work too hard to raise money to carry out our work to give it to the local authority. The Heart of England in Bloom judge’s comments from last year on Stonefield Park was that the benches needed repairing and trees and shrubs were past their best.

We hope therefore you will understand the very difficult but courageous decision we have taken not to enter our beautiful town into the Heart of England in Bloom 2015 competition. It is impossible to get another judging route ready and with so many obstacles put in our way we believe we have taken the right decision. We’ve worked our socks off preparing for judging day and its heart breaking for all of us who belong to Stone in Bloom! We will of course be entering the 2016 Heart of England in Bloom competition, not only do we want to win a gold in 2016 we have the will to win a gold! Everything else this year will go ahead,

competitions, judging and school visits, hopefully no one will see any difference and look out for all the children’s posters around the town, everyone a winner just like our town! For details of becoming a volunteer contact Chairman Jill Hood 077364 13097 or Secretary Traey Neagus 07545 780935. Twitter @stoneinbloom