GORING has launched its bid for glory in Britain in Bloom for the second year running.
The village won gold in the small town category for the Thames and Chiltern region in last year’s competition.
Now organisers are hoping to repeat this achievement with a range of floral displays.
Forty-six hanging baskets will be hung in Goring and six in neighbouring Streatley. Many will go up on lampposts along the bridge between the villages.
The Goring Gap in Bloom committee also plans to install troughs and planters.
There will be three new troughs at the Wheel Orchard car park off Station Road and two at Goring Parish Council’s offices in Red Cross Road.
A number will go outside The Arcade and Goring Free Church in High Street and the village library in Station Road.
It is hoped that children at Goring Primary School will be able to help set them up.
A dozen volunteers planted the 52 hanging baskets at Goring Gap in Bloom chairwoman Stephanie Bridle’s home in Cleeve Road on Saturday.
They used calibrachoa, bacopa, bidens and geraniums, mostly yellow and blue to fit in with this year’s competition theme of “Growing for Gold”.
The flowers will be left to grow in Mrs Bridle’s greenhouse for about a month before the baskets are positioned around the village.
Some of the planters will be planted with phormiums, which will be sown in a few weeks’ time when the risk of frost has passed.
Volunteers are also growing 40 sunflowers, most of which will be planted on the corner of Gardiner recreation ground, near Lyndhurst Road. The rest will go in the planter at the Wheel Orchard.
Poppies will be planted around the war memorial at St Thomas’ Church and it is hoped these will be in flower when the competition judges visit in July.
The committee will be helped by members of the Goring Greenfingers gardening club. Sixteen businesses in the village are sponsoring the bid and Goring and Streatley parish councils and Oxfordshire County Council have also provided funding.
The committee hopes to gain permission for a stone trough in front of Rectory Gardens from the parish council, which owns the land.
It had planned to place a decorative horse trough in the centre of Goring but decided this would be too costly and would look out of place. It was also going to plant wildflowers on platforms 2 and 3 at the station but has postponed this as Network Rail will be replacing the footbridge in the autumn.
Mrs Bridle said she was encouraging businesses and householders to create their own floral displays.
She said: “One thing I’ve noticed, which is really pleasing, is that people and pubs are really working at their gardens.
“Everyone is doing their bit and they seem to have bought into the idea of what Britain in Bloom can do for the village.
“The Catherine Wheel looks especially good, although this is not meant to be a competition between businesses.
“The new manager at McColl’s has also done a brilliant job of planting up outside his shop. He has really turned the place around and made it look beautiful.
“The judges will be visiting us shortly after the Goring and Streatley Festival so we’ll have our baskets out at the same time. They do a lot to bring people into the village.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that we make up our own baskets. It’s hard work but it’s worth it because it brings the community together and everyone feels like they’ve participated in it.”
Mrs Bridle said more volunteers would be needed to water the baskets and troughs once they were in place.
She said: “We’d really like help from some younger people as our waterers have been doing it for a few years and they’re getting a little older.
“It would be really nice to have some families involved. It’s a very sociable activity and a very positive thing for local people to support.”
Goring first entered Britain in Bloom in 2012 and won silver gilt.
Last year it not only went one better but also jointly won the overall clean and tidy category while the primary school was highly commended in the Mark Matlock Schools Challenge Cup.
Mrs Bridle said she was cautiously optimistic about Goring’s chances this year as villages are being judged on their contributions to the environment. The Withymead and Hartslock nature reserves are both a short journey from the village and she said this could count in Goring’s favour.
The school also operates a forest school scheme in which pupils learn about life outdoors.
Mrs Bridle said: “I don’t want to tempt fate but it would be wonderful if we could maintain the standard we set last year.
“We were very surprised and overjoyed to win gold and will try as hard as we can to win it again. We can only do our best and see how it goes.
“It’s always hard work in the run-up to the judging but it’s lovely that you never have to look far to find someone who’s willing to help. We do it because we want to bring more visitors into Goring and it does seem to work.”
Anyone who can help should call Mrs Bridle on (01491) 875283.
For more information, visit www.goringgapinbloom.co.uk