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Working as a community team as usual, representatives from Ross-in-Bloom and the (Blooming) Neighbourhoods (Ross Court, Woodside, Goodrich Court, Tudorville Allotments and the Garden of Remembrance) travelled to Pershore on 3rd September to attend the Heart of England in Bloom Awards Ceremony at Pershore Abbey, to find out how they got on in the judging in July. For the town as a whole, Ross-in-Bloom were presented with a Silver Gilt Award. This means that they did extremely well, although they didn't quite achieve the 85% required for the Gold again this year.

The judges' comments on the areas of achievement on their visit included: The baskets and planters in the town centre, the boat on the riverside and the bed in Wilton Road. The landscaping at the Bowling club, New Street Car Park, the Hospital Car Park and the new gardens adjacent to the Swimming Pool. The Garden of Remembrance and the Churchyard. The sheltered housing community gardens around the town with Nursery Road Community Gardens being excellent. The Art Work throughout the town especially on the fence adjacent to the Swimming Pool and Trenchard Street. Also the street sculptures around the town and riverside. The new benches around the whole area. The shop window posters and street banners. The SSSI riverside areas and tree planting. The Heritage Centre History and Art Exhibitions. The Community Spirit the in Blooming has enhanced with year round effort. The involvement of all sections of the community especially pre-school children and young groups such as the Guides and Rainbows. The proposed plans for Pigs Alley Project The correct type of very useful forward planning in dealing with eyesores. The funding and benefits in kind, which are substantial.

The judges were delighted to see such a range of places on their visit, including the award winning King Charles Secret Garden and the Ross Garden Store. They were also very pleased to meet various members of the town who welcomed them to a reception at the Swimming Pool hosted by the Mayor and Mayoress. All in all they had a good visit and showed this with such a high award again this year. The following day the neighbourhood judges came to Ross but the weather was not very kind. It poured with rain all day, in sharp contrast to the beautiful sunny weather the afternoon before. However this not deter them from giving excellent marks to all the Neighbourhoods.

Ross Court received an Outstanding award, (equivalent to Gold) for their gardens. Tudorville Allotments, Goodrich Court, Woodside and the Garden of Remembrance all received a Merit (or Silver Gilt). Ross Court got a special mention for their new Woodland Walk, which was officially opened in the spring. They were particularly taken with the Squirrel sculpted from a Beech Tree, the Beetle Hotel (log pile) where 'Stag Nights are a Speciality' and lots of conservation ideas to encourage the wildlife. They also enjoyed seeing the small spaces that the residents cultivate themselves as well as the main gardens worked on by Carol and Mike Rouse.

The Garden of Remembrance showed that every year this area comes on in leaps and bounds through the dogged determination of three ladies (Rose Dean, Gail Lucas and Jane Hoare) to transform the area into a tranquil and lovingly cared for place. The efforts of the Guides last year to build habitats for wildlife have also paid off with many residents taking up the breeding places provided. There is a notable increase in the creatures great and small that now live there including a pair of woodpeckers. Goodrich Court showed a determined effort by the social committee to improve the gardens set up by the developers. The residents themselves all show their individuality, which gives an overall excellent appearance to the gardens as a whole.


There is a lot of variety for all year round appeal and the judges thought this was an impressive entry. Tudorville Allotments showed the concerted efforts of all society members to increase the number of plots available. They were impressed by the wide green lanes, which provide easy access to very fertile plots. There was a fecundity of vegetables and lush fruits ready for the table. Conservation is high with the hedgerows being left to grow wild with wildlife boxes and feeders being suitably sited. The companion planting also attracts wildlife. All in all this area is in harmony with its surrounding environment.

Woodside Resource Centre was a new entry this year and was an excellent first timer. The community is working extremely well with its fundraising events and support from local traders and Fownhope School. The judges loved the 'Know Your Roots' display at the entrance, this being a wonderful and fun interpretation of the Britain in Bloom Theme for this year. Woodside also received a Certificate of Merit for in Blooming.

There as also a surprise and well deserved award for Bekki Steele this year. She received a Heart of England in Bloom Certificate of Merit for the Art Work she has done on the fences next to the Swimming Pool. The judges give this award to individuals or groups that they feel are worthy of a mention for outstanding support or achievement within a particular in bloom or neighbourhood entry. Sue Holland, a member of Herefordshire in Bloom who works with all the groups, including Ross-in-Bloom throughout the year ,also received a Certificate of Merit for in Blooming services.

Margaret Lucas, Chairman of Ross-in-Bloom is delighted that Ross did so well, with the Neighbourhoods also showing how well the community can pull together. She said, 'I would like to congratulate everyone again on their results. I do hope that we can continue in this vein for the years to come. In particular I would like to congratulate Bekki on her award. It was very well deserved and we are all delighted that her hard work on designing the mural as well as painting it received such an accolade. The judges do not give these awards lightly and she richly deserved it. Well done Bekki from all of us.'

If anyone is interested in joining in with in Blooming next year either with the town or as a Neighbourhood they can contact Margaret at Lucas Motorcycles. Plans for the Pigs Alley Project are now underway again after the setbacks in the Summer and there will be notification for all those who agreed to help in the local press shortly. This will be included as part of next years entry as will their exhibition on Old Ross which is currently on show in the Heritage Centre.

Herefordshire and Wye Valley in Bloom

Members of Herefordshire and Wye Valley in Bloom also visited Pershore Abbey on 3rd September to find out how the judging in the Heart of England in Bloom went this summer. The group works very hard as a team to promote 'In Blooming' to encourage visitors and tourism across the county every year and 2009 has been no exception. Mary Sinclair Powell & Gill Churchill, Joint Chairmen, are delighted to announce that the County received 33 awards this year across all of the categories, including some surprise and very well deserved individual awards. This is the best year ever for the county as a whole, in fact the best county results across the whole of the Heart of England.

The results for 2009 in the main 'In Blooming' are as follows: In the Village Category, Dilwyn in Bloom won Bronze. In the Small Village category Eardisland won Silver Gilt. Their coordinator, Derek Wareham also won the Heart of England in Bloom Outstanding Merit Award. Tarrington won Gold for their small village and they were also Category Winner for the whole of the Heart of England. The British Toilet Association Award for the Best Dressed Toilet went to the Millpond Camping and Caravanning Park in Tarrington. Tarrington in Bloom are also awaiting the results of their judging for the Britain in Bloom village, which took place in August and will be announced later in September.

Of the towns, Bromyard won Gold for their Small Town entry, Ledbury and Leominster won Gold in the town category and Ross-on-Wye won Silver Gilt. In the Neighbourhood Awards, for small communities who feel they would like to take part in the Blooming but do not have a large population, there were 18 entries, all of whom achieved excellent results. Outstanding Awards were given to Ross Court and the Paradise People in Leominster. Shane and Vicky Marchant who are the driving force of Paradise People also received the Heart of England in Bloom Community Achievement Award.

Merit Awards were presented to Bridge Court, Eaton Close, Ginhall Lane Allotments, Marches Housing and The Flower Pot Kids - all from Leominster; Munderfield Allotments and Queen Elizabeth Humanities College - both from Bromyard; Burton Gardens Community Gardens in Weobley; Ferncroft and Hereford Cathedral - in Hereford; Goodrich Court, Woodside Resources Centre, the Garden of Remembrance and Tudorville Allotments - all in Ross. Woodside also received a Certificate of Merit. Improvement Awards were given to Leominster and Barons Cross Youths Allotments and Kington. Amongst the individual achievement awards were Sue Holland of Herefordshire in Bloom and Bekki Steele of Ross, who both received a Certificate of Merit.

Geof Tarring who is the manager of Herefordshire Council Parks and Countryside received the Heart of England in Bloom Award for Outstanding Service. Geof has worked very hard for 'In Bloomers' across the county for many years. He has always found time to lend his expertise and has supported all In Bloom entrants across the board. He has attended all judging events and he will be greatly missed when he retires in 2010.

Herefordshire and Wye Valley in Bloom was formed 10 years ago to enable everyone who wishes to join in the Heart of England Campaigns to work as one to promote not only their own areas but also the whole of the county. It is the only forum of its kind across the region and the group meets regularly throughout the year to report on progress, gain help with problems and to swap ideas. They also distribute a small grant of money given by Herefordshire Council each year towards the In Blooming across the whole of Herefordshire. Members of Herefordshire Council and Amey Wye Valley are usually in attendance, as well as representatives of Heart of England in Bloom.

If anybody is interested in the work of Herefordshire and Wye Valley in Bloom and would like advice on how they can form their own group of bloomers they can contact Mary on 01989 563056 (before 8pm please) or pop along to meetings, which are usually held in Bromyard. Membership costs a very modest 10 per group per annum, but you do get an awful lot for your money, especially the rewards as seen above. The next meeting will be the AGM on Tuesday,13th October in Bromyard Public Hall, meeting at 10am for coffee. All are welcome.

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