Walthamstow Village in Bloom

By Helen Lerner

We need your support in 2017!

Photograph by Caroline Barton

We are thrilled and proud to announce that in 2017, Walthamstow Village has again been invited to represent the London region in the prestigious RHS Britain in Bloom UK-wide competition. We are joining 78 other finalists competing to be crowned the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful Urban Community in the UK.

London in Bloom has a rule that we can only enter the nationals twice in five years, so this is our very last chance until 2022 at the earliest to show what makes the Village so special and to be awarded the UK’s best Urban Community with a Gold. So let’s really make it count! There will again be two judging days; London in Bloom in July and Britain in Bloom in August.

Waltham Forest, and especially Paul Tickner, are fully supporting us this year, and we’re getting lots of help from the Community Payback teams. Over the coming weeks you should notice real improvements happening in the street-scene, including the planting of new trees.

In 2017, the national RHS theme is Greening the Grey for Wildlife. This year, the areas we are targeting are:

The meadow

The meadow by the Ancient House was prepared and re-sown with a mix of annual and
perennial wildflower and grass seeds thanks to a generous donation by the Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association (WVRA). It should look fantastic, flowering from July to September, and will attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial pollinating insects. Please respect the new meadow by kindly not allowing dogs on it – the nitrogen in dog pee increases the soil fertility and allows courser grasses and weeds to choke out the flowers.

The Village Square

We have devised a new planting scheme for the flowerbed against the wall to complement the two other beds. Biodiversity is at the top of our agenda and the local honey beepopulation will love all the new pollen and nectar rich flowers.

Orford Road tree pits & lamposts

Waltham Forest will soon be installing double flower-baskets on all the new lampposts and we are securing donations from businesses to plant up the tree-pits with colourful flowers.

Chalmers House Orchard Project (CHOP)

The fruit trees along the Orford Road railings (opposite Orford House) have been full of blossom and we hope you enjoyed the carpet of 5,000 Purple Polio crocuses we planted.

Holmcroft House, Orford Road

After receiving permission from the WF Head of Housing Management, we started work on the front garden behind the new railings, improving the soil and adding new plants.

Village Veg Plots

Planting Day, Saturday 6 May, 2-4 pm
Our fantastic community Village Veg Plots outside the Lifeline Project at One Beulah Road, kindly sponsored by Fullers Builders, and run by Darryl Abelscroft and Caroline Barton, aided by Vally Gesthuysen, are designed to demonstrate how to grow veg, fruit and herbs on a small site and to look good in the street-scene. Residents and passers-by
can help themselves when the produce is ready.

We are holding a Veggie Planting Day on Saturday 6 May from 2 to 4pm. Hands big and small are needed to help!

Also needed are volunteers to join the Weekly Watering Team to water the veg plots one day a week with the on-site hose. Please contact darryl@walthamstowvillage.net for more information.


Our community beekeeping project, run by Richard Smith and Helen Lerner, has donated another £800, this time towards the replanting of the long flowerbed in the Village Square. To follow news of our two hives, see the BEE17 Facebook page or go to bee17.bz. We urge you to choose seeds and plants with bees and beneficial insects in mind. For a list of bee-friendly plants, please go to www.rhs.org.uk and search ‘Perfect for Pollinators’.

Monthly Gardening Club

Come and join the Gardening Club on the first Saturday of each month at 10.30am in the Village Square and tend the flowerbeds in the area, tidy up, plant, prune and weed. We have lots of laughs and you don’t need any special gardening skills (but you may gain some!), plus you get to meet your neighbours. And a big thank you to lovely Holmcroft
House resident Marion Cooper who is always
bringing refreshments to sustain us!

Compost in Summit Road

We wanted to apologise for upsetting some Summit Road residents when the compost donated by North London Waste Authority was delivered in February. We hope the fantastic display of daffodils and the heady scent of hyacinths made up for the annoyance.

Front Garden & Beautiful Premises Challenge 2017 – Big Prizes!

We have decided this year that not only can you enter the Challenges yourself, but you can nominate the gardens and displays of your neighbours.

There are many unloved front gardens, so this year we are adding a new category to our Gardening Challenges with a cash prize of £100 for Most Improved Front Garden/Forecourt, with £50 for second prize. This will be awarded to the resident who we think has done the most to beautify their front area – it may be with plants, baskets, containers and/or window boxes – the choice is yours. Please contact us for advice and
suggestions if you need them.

There’s also a new category for frontages that are Greening the Grey for Wildlife. There’s a range of things you can do to boost biodiversity:

  • Add pollinator-friendly flowers to a lawn
  • Plant a small tree or hedge: they can support hundreds of species of insect
  • Put up bird boxes or feeders
  • Pull up a paver or add containers and sow seeds to create a pollinator-friendly mini garden
  • Add climbing plants to cover a wall

There are the usual categories for front gardens, balconies, window boxes and containers. Your entry must be able to be seen from the street or be open to the public. Every entry will be awarded a Certificate of Participation, 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 using the form in our magazine, or online here walthamstowvillage.net/gardening-group/frontgarden-beautiful-premises by Friday 23 June. Let’s all make the most of our front gardens, forecourts and windowsills and show your support for Walthamstow Village in Bloom by entering yourself or a neighbour in our 2017 Gardening Challenges.

Follow us on Facebook (on our Walthamstow Village in Bloom page) and, if you would like to find out more, you can sponsor or help with any of the above, or would like to join the Bloom committee, please contact helen@walthamstowvillage.net or call 07814 042499.

Best wishes, many thanks and good luck from your Bloom team: Helen Lerner, Jakob Hartmann, Caroline Barton, Nick Springett, John Chambers, Teresa Deacon, Darryl Abelscroft and Vally Gesthuysen.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of “The Village” magazine.

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