Monday, 14 October 2019

Bloom organisers delighted at best large village award

Bloom organisers delighted at best large village award

THE chairwoman of Watlington in Bloom says she is delighted after the town scooped three awards.

It was named best large village in the Thames and Chilterns in Bloom regional awards, winning silver, and also won the conservation and wildlife award.

In the It’s Your Neighbourhood category, the village’s Mansle Gardens were rated as “advancing”.

Terry Jackson said: “We always aim for gold but silver’s good. It’s always hard work and it’s an acknowledgement of the work you put in and the people who have helped.

“Watlington is such a special town, we just want it to look its best for the residents and for visitors.

“We don’t do it for the thanks or for the awards, we do it because we love the town.” The judges praised the town’s conservation work, singling out the Friends of Watlington Hill, the new Watlington Climate Action Group and the Watlington Environment Group’s watercourses project.

The latter works in partnership with the Environment Agency, the River Thames Conservation Board and the Wild Trout Trust to improve the health and water flow of the town’s stream, particularly to encourage brown trout.

Mrs Jackson said: “We were very pleased with the conservation and wildlife award.

“We don’t concentrate lots on hanging baskets, which is very much a Henley approach, and bedding schemes.”

The group used perennials and organic peat-free compost and avoided using chemicals. Mrs Jackson said: “If I want to fertilise our plants we have two wormeries here and they produce worm tea that you dilute and water the plants with.”

This year the group created a new garden using pollinators on a triangle of land at the junction of Cuxham Road, Brook Street and Britwell Road.

It also moved tubs from the Hill Road car park, where there is no water access, to the junction of Couching Street and Brook Street, a main thoroughfare.

Residents Tom and Gill Bindoff maintained four hanging baskets outside the Watlington Club in High Street while members of the climate action group planted wildflower seeds in the long grass at the Paddock.

Mrs Jackson and her husband Keith, the group’s treasurer, also plan to place a water butt in the town to be used by the community.

She said: “I’d like to thank everyone for their help. It’s all-year round. We don’t stop just because the judges have been.

“It eases off a bit in the winter because we don’t have to do the weeding and watering so much.

“But we’re planning what we’ll do next year when I think we will probably enter again. People are incentivised by the competition aspect.”

Mrs Jackson thanked resident Jenny Wilkinson, who lives in High Street, for leading a team of residents that helped to keep the town tidy with a clean-up on the first Sunday of every month.

The volunteers pull up weeds, pick up litter, sweep pavements and roads and cut back hedges.

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