Pictured is Marilyn, chairman of the allotment association and member of the resident ‘Bloom’ team.
Everything will be blooming marvellous at Elmbridge Village in Cranleigh this year, as they prepare to enter the annual RHS competition Britain in Bloom. Residents are dusting off their tools and gathering willing volunteers to help to create a winning landscape.
This prestigious competition invites community gardeners to brighten up their town or city, or in this case village, with beautiful floral displays, which also bring wide-ranging social and environmental benefits including a strong community spirit and sense of pride.
The village will be competing in the South and South East region in the category of Business Landscape of the Year. Competition will be high – there are eight other organisations in this group including the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe and Sinah Warren Warner Leisure Hotels in Hayling Island.
Jane Briggs, Elmbridge Village resident, is rallying her fellow village gardeners together and coordinating the planting design with the village’s head gardener Richard Gash. This will be a real team event funded not only by a donation from Retirement Villages Group but also by the village and some of the residents themselves.
Jane said: “We will be looking at the communal areas around all the village properties and deciding on what element of make-over they will receive. We have plans for some ‘wow’ beds throughout the village and some arbours too.
“I’m also looking at local sculptors to provide at least one sculpture on site and as we are having to fell a tree because of the last storms, we have asked for it to be restricted to a height of around six feet so this can be sculptured as well.”
To make sure that everyone at the village can play a part in creating the displays, the ‘Bloom team’ have organised for the chairlady of the Cranleigh in Bloom village committee to visit the village in early April to run a workshop on pebble painting, which will then be displayed round the pond on the village green.
There is a lot of work ahead for the keen gardeners.
Jane said: “We will research the history of the site and make a photographic presentation to the judges of the various stages to completion, which will include the gardens and meadow, and how they have evolved over the years. We will offer photos from throughout the season from March onwards, emphasising the various aspects they will be judging us on.
“The marking criteria is not just about the planting though, but the history, legacy, conservation, and all those involved in the project which will include residents, allotment holders, and businesses.”
Village manager Keith Henesey said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the residents to come together and create something for the benefit of everyone here. Many of our residents are passionate gardeners so I’m really looking forward to the outcome. The pleasure of gardening can be enjoyed by those doing all the hard work and will of course be appreciated by everyone else living at, or visiting, the village. It’s such a prestigious competition for Elmbridge to be involved in and although competition will be strong, I’m sure that our entry will be spectacular.”
Should the village win its category they may then be selected for the countrywide national finals which are held the following year in October. Judging will be taking place mid-July and will involve a short presentation about the landscape and a walk around the grounds.
We are looking forward to sharing progress pictures of the landscapes as they evolve over the coming months.