Despite the challenges thrown at us by the weather this year - the early heavy rains followed by strong winds and summer drought - Tetbury in Bloom lived up to its name! Despite not competing, the standard of the floral displays remains very high and it has not gone unnoticed, with an article in the Telegraph and a slot on BBC2.
I would like to thank:
" The organising committee who make it all look so effortless and professional: Sue and Stephen Hirst, Mel and Ian Maslin, Ange and Pete Morrissey and Kevin Farnham.
" The "day team" who are out and about the town on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, come rain or come shine and who are so cheerful and passionate about what they do: Sue Hirst, Ange and Pete Morrissey, Frances Collinson, Dee Buss, Anne Wakely, Jane Bell, Emma Thomas, Alan Simcock and Mike Kniveton.
" Kevin (my husband) for his beautiful photos and record of our achievements.
This year we focused our horticultural efforts on improving the floral displays, including revitalising The Knapp, The Library, the Princess Diana Memorial flowerbed and the Anniversary Gardens and reshaping the flowerbed at the entrance to the hospital to make a bigger and bolder display. Judging by the many positive comments, we think that you like the results.
On a bright Saturday morning in March we were delighted to support the Feoffees and many town organisations as they planted fruit trees to create a community orchard on Herd Lane. What a wonderful initiative and I look forward to the prospect of picking apples or pears when on walks through to Preston Park in the coming years.
The annual Opens Gardens Day in June was our biggest yet, with over 150 visitors, from as far afield as Canada and Denmark and, closer to home, from Cheltenham and Bath. We even have new gardens for next year! Thank you to everyone who opened their beautiful gardens to support Tetbury in Bloom: Di and Mont Bryan, Brock Bergius (York House), Pam and Ross Dallas, Heather and David Evans, Lise and Chris White, Pauline and Charles Whittaker, Carolyn Witcher and Will Cook, and the residents of Helena Court. Thank you to Ange Morrissey for organising the event, the Women's Institute for the delicious home baked cakes and for serving the refreshments, Stephen Hirst for his cakes (which made popular raffle prizes), and the Lions Club of Tetbury for the use of their gazebo.
What fun we had back in June judging this year's shop window displays - well done and congratulations to everyone who entered.
We were delighted to ensure that the church yard looked its very best for the licensing service for the Reverend Poppy Hughes in September - welcome to her.
The race night in October was another great success. Thank you to the race sponsors: Cherry Tree, Hortensia, Hot Tottie Boutique, Perry Bishop and Chambers, Sureteam, The Pink Cab and The Tetbury Tailor. Thank you to everyone who attended, we hope that you enjoyed the evening as much as we did.
A big thank you to our many sponsors and supporters, including Tetbury Town Council and the grounds staff, Tetbury Upton Parish Council, the Lions Club of Tetbury, the Feoffees, The Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds, Tetbury and District Civic Society, St Marys' Parochial Church Council and Highgrove Enterprises and many others, without whom we would not be able to continue our work.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone involved in Tetbury in Bloom.
Overall winner of this year's shop window display competition "An English Country Garden"
It is official that the Tetbury in Bloom team are "a blooming success" - I read it in the Telegraph on Saturday 26th August and many of you have told me so.
Mary Keen (writer, lecturer and internationally renowned garden designer) came to Tetbury in the summer to meet with Sue Hirst and the team and to inspect the planting scheme on the roundabout at the Cirencester entrance to the town having driven through Tetbury on many occasions. She was clearly impressed with what she saw - the "eye-catching" floral displays, the scale of the task at hand and the "fantastic team". To read the full article, type the words "Telegraph Tetbury Bloom" into your search engine.
And our fame doesn't stop there. In early October Sue and the team were filmed by BBC for a new prime time gardening series called "The Great British Gardening Revival". They wanted to know about our use of colour foliage shrubs in the beds. Watch out for us on BBC2 sometime in December!
The work doesn't stop as the temperature drops. October saw us planting another 4,000 bulbs around the town and this month we will dress and install the Christmas trees and the town centre lights, and help the Christmas in Tetbury committee with the switch-on event on Thursday 5th December.
Thank you to everyone who supported the Race Night, we hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did.
While the daisy-like blooms of rudbeckia and asters continue to provide colour, for us it is important to have some shrubs in the border which will provide the link between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and beyond. Colourful foliage shrubs can provide lots of background interest - both the yellow and green coloured choisya, red leafed berberis, spiraea 'Gold Flame', and golden euonymus are all favourites of ours.
Another particular favourite of Tetbury in Bloom is the long-flowering penstemon. Flowering for up to six months of the year, from early summer into the late autumn, penstemon are oblivious to drought and rain, resistant to pests and they thrive in most soil conditions, in containers or borders, in sun or part shade. Penstemon range in colour from bold rich plum to pastel pinks and mauves. The varieties increase each year but our favourites are the deep red 'Garnet' in the London Road flowerbeds. 'Firebird', a brighter red variety used in the bed by the Priory Industrial Estate. 'Just Jane' and 'Annabel' are two other favourites - both deep pink in colour and used at Old Coombe House, Braybrooke Close and several other beds around the town.
As the summer draws to an end and the days grow shorter, the work of Tetbury in Bloom continues. Autumn is the time to tidy the garden. Now is the time for the team to lift, divide and replant overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials and to remove spent summer annuals. And, of course, there are the spring bulbs to plant.
In addition, our fundraising activities continue. At the time of writing this article, some tickets are still available for the "Night at the Races", from 7pm on Saturday 12th October in the Dolphins Hall. Tickets cost £5 each and include light refreshments. Tickets are available from Sue Hirst on 504213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you to Cherry Tree, Hortensia, Hot Tottie Boutique, Perry Bishop & Chambers, Sureteam, The Pink Cab, The Tetbury Tailor, (and the Mayor!) for sponsoring the races. We look forward to seeing you there.
Despite the drying winds and the high temperatures this summer, the flowers bloomed, bringing a wonderful splash of colour to the town. Thank you to Sue and Stephen Hirst, Mike Kniveton, Frances Collinson, Anne Wakely and Emma Thomas for their tireless watering of the beds, tubs and lamppost baskets located around the town.
The Braybrooke flowerbed looked its best ever this summer. The two grey leaved ornamental grasses did really well thanks to the previous wet summer, giving extra height and interest. Three varieties of heuchera, with their delightful foliage, together with the brightly coloured golden euonymus, choisya and hebes provide all year round colour. Hardy fuchsias, sedum, penstemons, phlox, crocosmia and erodium provide a long flowering season which is enhanced further by the annual planting of colourful begonias and geraniums.
Heuchera are another favourite of Tetbury in Bloom. They come in many varieties (with many more new varieties being introduced each year) and many colours from amber, bronze, green, gold, pink, purple and silver; they are the perfect perennial to brighten up any garden. The majority of heuchera will grow well with some shade. The darker leaved varieties will also tolerate full sun. To propagate your own, remove the little “plantlets” from the outside of the plant in the autumn and put them in a mix of approximately half compost and half gritty sand. Leave them outside in the winter and by late spring/early summer many will have rooted. Some varieties obviously work better than others but it is well worth a try!
The shop window display competition, “English Country Garden”, to highlight Tetbury in Bloom’s 4th Open Garden’s Day in June , introduced an additional splash of colour and interest to the town centre. Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to Skeins, the overall winner.
Sue and the team were delighted to meet with, and chat to, Mary Keen, the writer, lecturer and internationally-celebrated garden designer who writes a regular column for The Daily Telegraph newspaper. Living locally at Duntisbourne Rous, and being the mastermind behind the restoration of the gardens at Westonbirt school, she has cause to travel through Tetbury frequently. The unique planting style of our flower beds caught her eye and she wanted to learn more of how we go about creating our innovative designs. Watch out for her article about us, which will appear in The Daily Telegraph later this year.
We are also finalising plans, and selling tickets, for a fund raising evening on Saturday 12th October - a night at the races. If you have never attended a race night before, you’ve missed a great night out! Everyone has the same chance of winning prizes and it can get very exciting! Tickets cost £5 each and are available from Sue Hirst on 504213. Light refreshments and a bar will be available. Also, please contact Sue if your business would be willing to sponsor one of the horse races.
Thank you to Tetbury Upton Parish Council, Tetbury Town Council, Jenny Norden Interiors and the Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds for their donations.
Inspirational, uplifting and simply gorgeous, Tetbury’s flowerbeds have attracted positive comments from many residents and visitors from as far a field as Gosport.
The English garden is, perhaps, at its best in the summer, with the sun shining and some our favourite plants in full bloom.
A particular summer favourite of Tetbury in Bloom are pelargoniums - either the ivy-leaved variety or the zonal bedding geranium. They are easy to care for and they flower throughout the summer in full sun or light shade, thereby providing excellent value for money. Both varieties come in a range of colours from delicate whites, pinks and mauves to bright oranges and reds. They provide a fantastic display in any garden. To get the best from your geraniums, don’t over water them since they can withstand drought conditions better than most plants. Pinch out the growing tips occasionally to increase bushiness and to shape the plant as it grows. Also, deadhead spent flower stems to keep your plant looking neat and to promote more blooms. If you over winter yours from the previous year, pruning them back hard in spring will keep them compact. (Remember to harden them off before you plant them outside in late May, after the last frosts.) Feed occasionally with a high potash fertiliser and you should be rewarded with a wonderful colourful display.
We buy most of the summer bedding from Wotton Farm shop; thanks to Paul Grimes for his flexibility in delivering as and when we have needed them.
As in any garden at this time of year, the Tetbury in Bloom team are busy keeping on top of weeding, feeding, deadheading and watering to ensure that the summer flower displays look their best.
Thank you to: the Tetbury and District Civic Society for their donation towards the new plaque for the Diana Memorial Flowerbed on The Green; to A.G Carrick Ltd, The Tetbury Lions Club, St Mary’s Parochial Church Council and many individuals for their kind donations, and to everyone who turned up to the Open Gardens to show their on-going support.
June is a busy month for the Tetbury in Bloom team. We are out each Tuesday and Thursday (morning and evening) preparing the flowerbeds and tubs, and planting the summer bedding. We are also preparing for the fourth Tetbury Annual Open Gardens Day.
A particular summer favourite are pelargoniums - either the ivy-leaved variety or the zonal bedding geranium - because they are easy to care for and they flower throughout the summer in full sun or light shade, thereby providing excellent value for money. (This is why we use so many of them in the beds and containers around the town.) Both types of geraniums come in a range of colours from whites, pinks, mauves, oranges and reds and add immediate impact to any garden. To get the best from your geraniums, don’t over water them; they can withstand drought conditions better than most plants. Pinch out the growing tips occasionally to increase bushiness and to shape the plant as it grows. Also, deadhead spent flower stems to keep your plant looking neat and to promote more blooms. If you’ve over wintered yours from last year, pruning them back hard in spring will keep them compact and do remember to harden them off before you plant them outside in late May, after the last frosts. Feed occasionally with a high potash fertiliser and you should be rewarded with a wonderful colourful display.
Tetbury Open Gardens Day will be held on Sunday 23rd June 2013 from 2pm to 6pm. Tickets provide entry to all eight gardens and cost £5 per person (under 12s are free). All funds raised will go towards “in Bloom” projects. Advance tickets (complete with a map and details of all the participating gardens) can be obtained from the Post Office or contact Ange Morrissey on 01666 505723. Alternatively, buy your ticket at the first garden you visit on the day.
This event offers a rare opportunity to explore a varied group of private gardens and the opportunity to converse with real gardening enthusiasts, happy to share their passion. The 2013 collection includes:
Please note the “Cutwell Canteen” will be back by popular demand for the purchase of refreshments and homemade cakes to keep you going throughout the afternoon. We'll also be selling young plants and old tools.
Thank you to everyone who has agreed to open their marvellous gardens to the public: Chris and Lise White, Hookshouse; Ross and Pam Dallas, 12 Cutwell; all the residents of Helena Court; Heather and David Evans, Courtfield; Brock Bergius, York House; Di and Mont Bryan, Northfield Road; Pauline and Charles Whittaker, Gumstool Place; Will Cook and Carolyn Witcher, Sunshine Cottage. Thank you also to the Women’s Institute and Stephen Hirst for their cake-making skills and Tetbury Lions Club for use of their gazebo. And, thank you to you for your on-going support.
We look forward to seeing you on 23 June.
“A showpiece that has won so many ‘England in Bloom’ medals that it has lost count”. I quote one of the reasons given in the Times (dated 20th March 2013) for Tetbury being listed at 14th in the top thirty best towns in Britain – what an achievement!
My job takes me around the country, from Bristol to Liverpool and York and all places in between. As I travel the country, I am always on the look out for “in Bloom” initiatives and examples of good planting but none, in my opinion, compare to the floral display on the roundabout at the Cirencester entrance to Tetbury; it gladdens my heart to be home every time I enter Tetbury from that side of town.
The unusual star-shape flowerbed looks wonderful from all angles, and at all times of year, but it is especially beautiful in the summer. This year should be no exception. The “loose and natural” planting theme has proved very effective and extremely popular with residents and visitors alike. At its centre, the cherry tree and lavenders from the original planting scheme have been replaced with a red-leafed acer, kindly donated to us after the cherry tree died. The overall colour scheme of plum, pink, yellow and orange has been achieved using yellow physocarpus, pink flowering mallow and gold-flowering rudbeckia in the centre ring. The “points” are planted with red berberis, yellow leafed spiraea, choisya and dark plum coloured heuchera together with yellow anthemis, orange flowering kniphofia – “Tetbury Torch” –crimson coloured penstemon, deep pink liatris, mauve osteospurmum and cranesbill to name but a few! The plants used roughly graduate in size towards the tips of the star, giving that added “wow-factor” to the flower bed. All these plants are sustainable. We use just a few geraniums and antirrhinum to carry colour through the spaces between the plants over the summer months. The addition of crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs has extended the flowering season from early February.
At this time of year the team are out and about continuing to maintain the beds and getting ready for the summer planting next month.
Sue Hirst has also been busy publicising the work of Tetbury in Bloom – her presentation to Zwingenberg was very well received, making the front page of the local paper. Well done her.
The observant amongst you will have noted that the mural has been removed from London Road; not to worry, it has been handed to Saint Mary’s Primary School and the pupils who created it where it will be displayed proudly, and rightly so.
For more details about the work of the group, why not check out the new-look website at www.tetburyinbloom.org.uk .
We will not have a stall at Woolsack this year – instead we will be there enjoying ourselves! We will, however, be holding a plant and tool sale at the Open Garden’s Day on Sunday 23rd June. Do come along and give us your support and, in the meantime, if you have any old tools in the garage that are gathering cobwebs and taking-up space, that you are willing to donate, please contact Sue Hirst on 504213.
More about the Open Garden’s event in my next article.
Tetbury has a fascinating history, as reflected in its architecture and the stories of some of its residents. Tetbury in Bloom has produced a two-sided A4 leaflet that takes you on a “stroll” around the historic sites and “in Bloom” initiatives in the centre of town. (You can obtain your copy from the Tourist Information Centre, for a donation of £1 to Tetbury in Bloom projects.)
One of the hidden gems, described in the leaflet, is the Anniversary Gardens. Located in Eccles Court, between the Ferns and The Chipping, it is a quiet oasis close to the town centre. Originally it was part of the grounds of Sir William Romney’s school, Long Street. It was developed into a garden by Brigadier Meyrick Nielsen in 1977 to commemorate The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In 2007, it received a make over from Tetbury in Bloom and the Civic Society, to commemorate its 30th anniversary and to mark the 80th birthday of HM The Queen. Like any garden, however, it continues to evolve.
The intention is to remove our reliance on bedding plants for an extra splash of summer colour. The team has begun by removing the lavenders and planting hardy fuchsias in their place: “Dollar Princess”. Hardy fuchsias will flower non-stop from summer to the first autumn frosts, will introduce a wonderful splash of colour for little effort and have the advantage that they can tolerate partial shade. They were a particular favourite of my Gran’s and will make a wonderful addition to this typically English garden, with its existing climbing roses and clematis:
At the time of writing this article, there were still some hanging baskets for sale – they contain three stunning varieties of trailing begonias in four different colours: “Illuminations” in rose and apricot shades, lemon coloured “Superstars” and a new red variety of “Firewings”. They cost £30 each. To place your order, contact Sue Hirst on 504213, or via email@example.com. The hanging baskets will be delivered to your door in early June. Trailing begonias are perfect for hanging baskets. They just keep on flowering and these large bloomed varieties couldn’t be easier to look after because, not only are they drought resistant so won’t wilt at the first sign of insufficient water, they don’t need deadheading either! Again we will be using the new style baskets that allow for a beautiful ball-shaped display and have a inbuilt reservoir that prevents the water running through causing the basket to dry out so quickly. Just hang them up, water them regularly and remember to apply an all-purpose fertiliser to feed them.
Planning continues for the Tetbury Open Gardens afternoon on Sunday 23rd June. If you would be interested in opening your garden to the public this year on behalf of Tetbury in Bloom, or have any old tools that you could donate for resale, please contact Ange Morrissey on 505723.
To coincide with the Open Garden’s Day, this year we will also be running a shop window display competition, entitled “English Country Garden”; judging will take place on the morning of Wednesday 19th June. I look forward to it and hope you do too.
I have recently returned from a holiday in the Caribbean. Whilst we had a lovely time, and it was wonderful to see some winter sun, I would miss the English seasons if I lived abroad.
Spring is probably my favourite time of year and the signs are all around us - from snowdrops and daffodils flowering, pussy willow and catkins appearing and the leaves bursting from dormant trees, to the lambs in the fields and frogspawn in the ponds.
Last autumn Tetbury in Bloom planted 4,605 spring-flowering bulbs throughout the town, including: crocus, narcissi and tulips. We added two hundred tulip bulbs to the flowerbeds on London Road alone. These are a mix of:
I look forward to another stunning spring floral display.
For wonderful spring flower displays further a field, why not seek out:
At this time of year the team are out and about tidying the flowerbeds. We have cleared the verge alongside Pike cottage, widening the footpath for improved access to the hospital. Also, we are formulating plans for the Anniversary Gardens – more about those plans in another article.
We are seeking more volunteers to open their garden to the public on the afternoon of Sunday 23rd June. If you are interested, please contact Ange Morrissey on 505723; she will be delighted to hear from you. Please make a note in the diary.
Looking even further ahead, we are now taking orders for our summer hanging baskets. Following on from the many complements we have received in recent years, the hanging baskets will contain trailing begonias in vibrant reds, apricots and lemon colours. They cost £30 each (the same as last year) and will be delivered to your door at the beginning of June; it couldn’t be easier. To reserve your hanging basket, call Sue Hirst on 504213, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, all profits go towards funding Tetbury in Bloom projects.
As we clear away the Christmas trees and lights, thoughts turn to plans for the spring and summer floral displays.
Despite the persistent rain, the spring bulbs are beginning to peek through, promising warmer weather and longer days. Gardening is quite a “leap of faith” - we planted thousands of bulbs back in the autumn and must still wait to see what will emerge. For me, there’s nothing like the sight of snowdrops and then daffodils to make me think spring and prepare for another season in the garden. It’s the same with Tetbury in Bloom.
In addition to us planting all the beds and planters in town, and maintaining the displays to the standard the town has become accustomed to, we also have two specific projects lined up for 2013. One is to improve the formal flower bed in Royal Anniversary Gardens, and the other is to give the Princess Diana Memorial Flowerbed on The Green a well needed makeover. Our plan here is to keep the 37 original white Princess Diana rose bushes, reshape the bed, and boost the soil with manure. The tall phlox, which did so well in 2012 with all the rain, have been removed and will be found new locations in other beds around the town. The existing red flowering heuchera will be replanted together with fresh lavenders, penstemons and hardy fuchsias. We envisage that, with the Spring display starting with the early flowering Tête à Tête narcissus, progressing onto the wonderful tulip and allium display in April/May, followed by the roses, heuchera, lavender, penstemons and fuchsias, the bed will have something colourful to show from March right through to the first frosts.
We may not be competing but we remain committed to ensuring that Tetbury looks its best all year round. We hope that you like the results.