Blooming success hoped for Wisbech as 2018 gardening competition is launched

Wisbech In Bloom volunteers launch their In Bloom campaign with representatives and supporters from

Wisbech In Bloom volunteers launch their In Bloom campaign with representatives and supporters from Fenland District Council, Wisbech Town Council, Volmary and other groups and organisations. Photo: Alan Wheeldon. - Credit: Archant

Plans to make Wisbech bloom in the UK’s largest community gardening competition have been unveiled as the town launches its 2018 campaign.

The newly-planted Amazing Apple Orchard in Wisbech Park. Photo: FDC

The newly-planted Amazing Apple Orchard in Wisbech Park. Photo: FDC - Credit: Archant

Wisbech’s horticultural champions will be pulling out all the stops in the hopes of winning the Business Improvement District (BID) category in this year’s Britain In Bloom finals.

The town will also be judged in the BID category of the regional Anglia In Bloom contest, as well as the Best Large Town category – and is hoping to secure its 11th consecutive gold in the competition too.

Volunteers from Wisbech In Bloom officially launched their campaign at Wisbech Park on Friday, April 20, when they were joined by representatives from Volmary, of Wisbech St Mary, which has once again provided thousands of plug plants free-of-charge for use in the town centre hanging baskets and containers.

Fenland District Council, Wisbech Town Council and other community groups and individuals which support the volunteer effort also attended the launch.

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Wisbech In Bloom secretary Penny Stocks said: “With ten Anglia in Bloom gold awards in a row and previous successes in the national Britain In Bloom and international Communities in Bloom contests, it can be difficult to keep improving and maintain our high standards.

“But we have been working hard throughout the winter months planning the bid and are confident of doing well.”

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One of the new attractions this year is the new Amazing Apple Orchard near the bowling green in Wisbech Park. Work on the orchard began in January this year when 130 apple trees in 31 varieties were planted by volunteers from Wisbech in Bloom, Street Pride, horticultural students from Meadowgate School and Hughes Electrical.

The trees include culinary and eating apple varieties and will form a fruit maze as they grow for the whole community to enjoy.

“Wisbech has a long history of fruit growing and yet today there is not a single orchard to roam, admire the blossom and eat an apple fresh from the tree,” said Mrs Stocks. “This orchard will bring back memories to the older generation of fruit picking days and show younger people how apples are grown and in so many varieties.”

This year the themed garden at St Peters Church will go ‘back to the beach’ imagining how Wisbech may have looked if it was still on the coast. Volunteers would like to include a small wooden rowing boat, and would love to hear from anyone who has one they no longer need.

Wisbech In Bloom has also received a grant from the town council to fund new projects and revitalise others, including planting borders in Crescent Gardens and St Peter’s Church Gardens.

Brian Massingham, chairman of Wisbech in Bloom, thanked everyone who supports the volunteers in any way, by sponsorship, donations or taking time to litter pick.

He paid particular thanks to Street Pride volunteers, Wisbech Society, Smiths Farm Shop, Hutchinson’s, M&B in Outwell, Ray and Jan Wicks of Etcetera, the parks and open spaces team at Fenland District Council and Cllr Peter Murphy, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, for their “great support over many years”.

Wayne Eady, managing director of Volmary, said: “We are very pleased to support the efforts of the Wisbech in Bloom team. As a local company it is important our staff and visitors benefit from pleasant surroundings and that our staff feel engaged with community projects. The team does a tremendous job and overcome significant potential barriers to provide a colourful outlook for many people living in and the town and for those visiting.”

The Anglia In Bloom judging will take place in Wisbech between July 5 and 25, with Britain In Bloom judges coming to town on Friday, August 3.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Wisbech in Bloom, become a volunteer or provide a rowing boat for the St Peters Church themed garden can contact Brian Massingham on 01945 461618 or Penny Stocks on 01945 561208.

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