By Helen Lerner
Walthamstow Village is representing London as a finalist in the prestigious Britain in Bloom national competition and things are really hotting up to get the Village looking stunning. We are joining 78 other Britain in Bloom finalists and are going allout to be crowned the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful Urban Community in the UK.
This year we will be up against Aldridge, Walsall (Heart of England), Clifton, Bristol (South West), Didsbury, Manchester (North West), Littleover, Derby (East Midlands), Starbeck, Harrogate (Yorkshire), and Uddingston, Glasgow (Scotland).
It’s our very last chance until 2022 to show the UK what makes us so special and to be awarded the UK’s best Urban Community with a Gold, so let’s really make it count!
There will be two judging days: the regional London in Bloom judges, Peter Holman and Lee Johnson, will visit for three hours on Friday 14 July from 10.45, and the national Britain in Bloom judges, Geraldine King and Darren Share, will visit for three hours on Tuesday 8 August from 9.30 am.
We will find out how we’ve done on 27 October at the national awards in Llandudno.
How you can help:
- On judging days, by serving refreshments and/or lunch, taking photos or litter-picking ahead of the judging tour. Please let us know if you can help.
- On judging days, please ensure that your garden, pots, baskets and window boxes are looking their best, that boundaries, walls and hedges are tidy and that bins are neatly placed or tucked away. It’s not too late, if you haven’t already, to get planting and potting, and to put up your hanging baskets. Please encourage your neighbours to join in, too, so we can make our area look fantastic.
WVRA Gardening Club – every Saturday in June and July and every Wednesday
evening until 2 August
Lots of help is needed to weed, plant and tidy in the run-up to judging, so we will be gardening every Saturday from 10.30am, and every Wednesday evening from 7pm. We meet at the Village Square; tools are provided or you can bring your own. No experience is necessary and all ages and abilities can join in. It’s good exercise, lots of fun and an ideal way to meet like-minded neighbours.
Saturday 1 July – Big Village Clean Up, from 10.30am
We are seeking volunteers to tidy, garden, paint and spruce up the Village. Please meet at the Village Square with gloves and sturdy shoes, and do wear old clothes if you want to paint!
Primp my Village
We’ll also be putting finishing touches to the gardening on the evenings before judging, on Thursday 13 July and Monday 7 August. Please meet at the Village Square at 7 pm. On the mornings of judging, please join us and Waltham Forest operatives from 6.30am for an early morning clear-up along the judging route. We will work till around 9am, removing stray weeds and litter, and sweeping any dirty nooks and crannies until we have to get clean and smart, ready for the judges’ arrival. You can, of course, come and go at any time.
Village Veg Plot Community Allotment
Our community allotment outside the Lifeline Project at 1 Beulah Road, sponsored by Fullers Builders and BEE17, goes from strength-to-strength, with vegetables and herbs being planted and harvested throughout the year. It is led by Darryl Abelscroft, with invaluable assistance from original organiser Caroline Barton and their team of ‘Weekly Waterers’. They have a Facebook page with information and photos (Walthamstow Village Veg Plot). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FRONT GARDEN AND BEAUTIFUL PREMISES CHALLENGES 2017 – BIG PRIZES!
This year you can enter the Challenges or nominate gardens and displays of your neighbours.
This year we have added a new category with a cash prize of £100 for MOST IMPROVED FRONT GARDEN/FORECOURT, with £50 for second prize. This will be awarded to the resident, be it of a house or flat, who we think has done the most to beautify their front area.
This year, the national RHS theme is Greening the Grey for Wildlife, so we’ve a new category for frontages that are doing just that. Whatever the size of your space, there’s a range of things you can do to boost biodiversity.
There are the usual categories for front gardens, balconies, window boxes and containers. Your entry or nomination must be able to be seen from the street or be open to the public. Every entry will be awarded a Certificate of Participation that will be presented at the WVRA AGM in October.
Your Bloom team thoroughly enjoys looking at the gardens and displays of all entrants and showing them to the judges. The “best” garden and premises will be put forward into the London in Bloom 50 Favourite Front Gardens competition. All entries to be submitted, please, online at walthamstowvillage.net/gardening-group/frontgarden- beautiful-premises by Friday 23 June.
We sincerely thank all our lovely volunteers – too many too mention – without whom none of this would be possible, and to everyone who has generously sponsored new plants, and those who are watering and caring for them. Waltham Forest’s Paul Tickner and his teams, including Community Payback, have been marvellous this year and provided invaluable assistance with the new meadow, supplying hanging baskets in Orford Road, painting railings and weed clearance. We especially thank Fullers Builders, Estates 17, The East London Sausage Company and BEE17 for ongoing sponsorship and support.
Join us! Support us! Let’s make Walthamstow Village even greater and even greener! Let’s make the most of our front gardens, forecourts and windowsills, improve the street scene and show your support for Walthamstow Village in Bloom by entering yourself or a neighbour in our 2017 Gardening Challenges:
Best wishes, good luck and many thanks from your Bloom team: Helen Lerner, Jakob Hartmann, Caroline Barton, Nick Springett, Darryl Abelscroft, John Chambers and Teresa Deacon.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of “The Village” magazine.