News from Stony Stratford in Bloom

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As from October 2015 we have had our own standalone site at:
We are leaving this site in place as an archive.

Gusty Winds at the Bluebell Party 


Each year when the bluebells in the Bluebell Wood bloom we have our annual Bluebell Party with the children from The Space Playcentre, which both the children and SSIB volunteers thoroughly enjoy. This year the wind blew so violently that a tree came down, so to avoid crisps and cupcakes flying skywards we had the picnic indoors.  However, we still had the bug hunt in the wood, and to be strictly honest, the delight the children took from the bug-finds surpassed their joy at the beauty of the bluebells. Earlier the children had produced a beautiful bluebell mural together.  It’s true to say that probably the cup-cakes were the biggest hit of all!


Something for Everyone and Sunshine too at the SSIB Plant Sale and Tombola!

Combining  the SSIB Plant Sale and Tombola with the York House volunteers’ Coffee Morning is a winner for both groups – and this year was no exception.  On March 25th in welcome spring sunshine,  a huge array of tempting plants poured out of the car boots as SSIB volunteers arrived for the early shift; and there was hardly time to take them out of their bags and pop them on the tables before eager visitors were buying them.  Armfuls of plants acquired, they then moved on to sample further tempting  the delights inside York House .  Daphne Jones’ tombola had a sumptuous set of prizes to win; Theresa Wedderburn was selling beautiful bouquets of cut flowers from her social enterprise and raffling one in aid of the community gardens; Ruth was back with her seed swap – and then there were the luscious cakes, which York House volunteers had produced to go with the coffee. 

Firmly established as an important part of this annual event is the invitation to the Stony Stratford bard to write and declaim a verse on an appropriate them, and Patrick’s poem was enjoyed by everyone and was delivered with great verve. 

After the applause had died down for the bard, children gathered round the new edible sharing bed that Theresa Wedderburn had made, and Bruce Klive helped the children to plant a host of vegetables and herbs which will be free for anyone to pick as they pass.  The wood from the first sharing bed had rotted, and it was in too shady a spot, so Theresa  created a perennial bed where the sharing vegetable bed had been, and chose a sunnier spot on which to build the new raised bed a few yards further on.

When we counted up the money at the end of the day we found to our delight that we’d made over £450 on the plants and £103 on the tombola and bric-a-brac.  All this helps us to keep Stony looking beautiful!

11 July 2015

Golden Gardens Presentation of Awards

Front gardens and plant containers will have been judged and Ann Kempson will be awarding certificates and prizes in the Library to the proud gardeners whose front gardens and displays have been appreciated.

10 July 2015

Stony Stratford in Bloom Judging Day

The Royal Horticultural Society are sending their judges, Julie Graham and Ben Stanesby, to Stony Stratford on Friday, 10 July 2015. Here is the route they will be taking:


You probably cannot read the Key on the map, so this is the list of places:

  1. Library (where the judges are given a presentation and then the tour begins)
  2. Queen Eleanor Garden, Millennium bed and pond (at the north end of the High Street)
  3. Remembrance Rose Bed (at corner of Ostlers Lane and Vicarage Road)
  4. St Mary & St Giles School
  5. Wolverton Road Recreation Ground and Allotments
  6. York House Community Gardens
  7. Galley Hill Children’s Play Park
  8. Four Seasons Garden (at corner of Calverton Road and Augustus Road)
  9. War Memorial
  10. Mill Field, Ouse Valley Park
  11. Market Square (for walking tour of Market Square, Church Street, High Street and Odell’s Yard)

16 June 2015

Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens: A prefect partnership

Friends of Stony Stratford Library
Stony Stratford in Bloom




Tuesday, 16 June, Stony Stratford Library, 7.00 pm
followed by refreshments
Free tickets from the Library (01908 562562) Tuesday – Saturday morning

[Tickets are all gone; there is a waiting list]

7 June 2015


25 April 2015

Spring plant sale

14 April 2015

Greener streets – Better lives

The question was, Where were Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers going to plant the free nasturtium seeds sent us by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) as part of their ‘Greener streets – Better lives’ theme? Stony Stratford in Bloom always tries to have some event to mark RHS National Gardening Week, and we decided this year to have two events that illustrated our commitment to greening concrete streets. We agreed that the bed alongside the London Road Allotments fence would look wonderful with a blaze of nasturtiums; and so on Tuesday, 14 April Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers were kneeling on the pavement sowing the RHS seeds (together with some climbing nasturtiums that a volunteer donated), along this chosen stretch of road. Earlier, the Milton Keynes photographer had taken a photograph of Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers brandishing trowels and nasturtium seeds and the editor has promised to give us some publicity for the launch.

Later in the day we arrived at the local after-school children’s play centre, The Space, to run a gardening session there. A bunch of very enthusiastic children helped us to tip out a torrent of peat-free compost (obligingly donated by the Milton Keynes B&Q) into two large planters (kindly donated by local residents), ready for carrot, radish and winter salad seed to be sown the following day. Some of the compost went into a nest of tyres, where the children planted potatoes. The children are contributing to the ‘Greener streets’ theme by sowing nigella seeds in pots, which will be planted out around the town; and our keen young gardeners then turned their hands to this more fiddly activity.

8 April 2015

Sunflower planting in the sunshine

Once again this year the children from The Space Play Centre walked down to the Wolverton Road Recreation Ground to plant sunflower seeds with Stony in Bloom volunteers. Karen Parker had donated the seeds, which the children sowed in pots. As always, they were full of enthusiasm, and sowed their seeds with great care. Later in May they’ll be back to plant them out along the Wolverton Road Allotments fence as they did last year, so passers-by had a wonderful array of golden sunflowers smiling at them as they walked in the park. The children’s names went on the pots, and will be attached to the plants when they’re planted out, and in the autumn they’ll be measured in a competition to see which is tallest.


9 January 2015

Happy New Year to all who read Stony Stratford in Bloom’s website

As 2014 turns into 2015, the days begin to lengthen, and the snowdrops start to peep out of the frozen soil, Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers turn their thoughts to the exciting new projects planned for the coming year: roses for Vicarage Road; projects to enhance the Town Council’s chances of gaining Green Flag Status for Wolverton Road Recreation Ground; an exotic garden in the bed in front of the Library; bright red and pink pelargoniums to make a dazzling impact at the entrances to the town; and a new bed at the entrance to the Galley Hill Play Park with money from Phil Wharton’s previous allocation for the ward and with sponsorship in kind from Dominic Harris. The beds in Galley Hill will also be neatened with brick or wooden edging.

Ron’s Rosebed on Vicarage Road

Preliminary work started just before Christmas on the bed in Vicarage Road that will become ‘Ron’s Rosebed’. Ron and Eileen Cox have generously provided £300 to pay for what should be a magnificent display of roses at this entrance to the town. In December the bed was marked out as an immense crescent-shape, and Ron joined other Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers to remove the turf so that the bed would be ready for digging in January or February this year. The turf-removers found gravel rather than soil under the grass, and Dominic Harris of Manor Drives has kindly offered to take a look and see if he can be of help with the gravel removal. In February comes the exciting part – planting the roses. Look out for a blaze of red roses as you turn the corner from Ostlers Lane into Vicarage Rd next summer.

Fingers crossed for this year’s application to gain Green Flag status for Wolverton Road Recreation Ground

Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers are enthusiastic supporters of the Town Council’s bid to gain Green Flag status for Wolverton Road Recreation Ground in 2015. In the autumn we added cornflower seed to the ribbon poppy bed and weeded the crescent bed of native shrubs near the Queen Eleanor Street boundary. Tulips were planted here too to provide extra colour in the spring.

A key plan is to brighten the entrance to the park from Wolverton Road with a stunning display of pink roses and petunias. Before Christmas the ground was prepared in the beds on both sides of the railings, and the daffodil and tulip bulbs were lifted and replanted in their weed-free home.

As the railings were looking rather shabby we approached Milton Keynes Council to see if they’d pay for paint if Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteers were prepared to do the painting, and to our delight Rob Ward agreed. Stony Stratford in Bloom volunteer Derek Gibbons, who lives close by, has offered to regard the park as his particular project. He supplied some bricks from his own garden, using them to edge the flower bed, and making a huge difference to the appearance of the entrance. He has also started work on the painting, and will be joined by other volunteers in subsequent workparties. Pat Kyd researched and ordered the roses from Harkness Nurseries, and they’ve arrived so speedily that the pressure is on to complete the painting of the railings in rapid time.

The last time the judges assessed the park they criticised the state of the benches, and Rob Gifford, one of the Stony Stratford Milton Keynes councillors, has kindly used part of his allocation for the town to pay for a new bench to replace the broken one. All three councillors, Rob and Liz Gifford, and Denise Brunning, have used some of their allocation too to increase the number of dog pooh bins, and so diminish the scourge of dogs fouling the park.

Conscious of the shabbiness of the shelter, which has been defaced with graffiti, Stony Stratford in Bloom decided that a good way to prevent vandalism in the future might be to involve young people in an art project to paint the shelter to their taste. Robbie Caddock from Milton Keynes Council kindly promised that Milton Keynes Council would take down the panels, repair and put on a base coat. Helen Taylor, a well-respected community artist, who has lots of experience of working with children on such artistic ventures, has agreed to direct the project. Milton Keynes Community Foundation grant advisers indicated that such a project would be likely to be viewed favourably when we asked their advice, and Jess Flowers, Director of The Space Play Centre, was very enthusiastic about children from the Play Centre being involved in this exciting art project too. It’s very heartening to see so many showing support for improving the environment in this way.

Stony Stratford in Bloom has many other ideas for the park – so watch this space.

To see what we did previously go to Stony Stratford in Bloom 2014 Second Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2014 First Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2013 Second Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2013 First Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2012 Second Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2012 First Half, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2011, Stony Stratford in Bloom 2010 or Stony Stratford in Bloom 2009.

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