Stony Stratford in Bloom 2009

Stony in Bloom daisy logo

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



2009 at a Glance
Planting Schemes
2009 in Full

2009 at a Glance

26 January: Talk by Andrea Wulf

author of The Brother Gardeners - Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession, organized by Rob Gifford at The Cock Hotel

4 February: Literary Quiz Evening

organized by Ken Daniels at the Bull Hotel - proceeds to Stony in Bloom and York House

30 March: Front Garden and Floral Container Talk by Chris Wilde

of Roman Way Garden Centre, organized by SIB Group at The Crown

25 April: Plant Sale

organized by Mary Sarre for SIB at York House

June–October Summer planting scheme

organized by Ray Cobley and Mary Sarre for SIB.  The theme will be nectar plants of pinks and purples.  (See note below for details)

15 June: Judging of Children’s Painting Competition by Derek Daniells at Russell Street School and St Mary & St Giles C E School

4 July: Judging of Competitions for Front Garden and Plant Container

organized by Mary Sarre for SIB

11-12 July: Stony Open Gardens

organized by SIB, including Exhibition of Children’s Art, Writing and Painting.  Presentation of Prizes for Children’s Competitions, Raffle and Refreshments – proceeds to Willen Hospice (Registered Charity) and Stony in Bloom.

15 July: Judging Stony in Bloom’s entry into Britain in Bloom by RHS Judges

the judges will examine the route prepared by the Stony in Bloom Group

Winter–Spring planting

organized by Ray Cobley and Mary Sarre for SIB (See note below for details)



New permanent projects for 2009

Junction Calverton Road/Augustus Road

Landscaping the area with a variety of spring bulbs, trees and perennial plants and beds completely replanted.

London Road outside The Children’s Centre

Regeneration of overgrown neglected area into a community-maintained wild flower ‘Bluebell Wood’ and nature educational project.

Junction London Road/Hale Avenue

Creation of ‘Sensory Garden’ by converting a plain grassed area into a bed as a haven for bees, insects and butterflies, bordered by three new trees.

SIB poly tunnel at St Mary & St Giles School

The hub for raising summer bedding and potting plants over the winter thereby saving the Town the costs of buying new plants each year. It is planned that educational classes will be held there so that children can benefit from the opportunity to learn how to grow their own plants and vegetables.


Planting Schemes

Planter planting


School children, Brownies, Guides and the Junior Group plant seeds. The successful summer planting scheme of 2008 will be repeated, with some minor changes following requests from residents.

1 The planter which was outside the Library in Church Street is moved to the one-way section of the High Street at the pedestrian entrance to Cofferidge Close

2 Inclusion of two additional three-tier planters in the northern end of the High Street.

3 Three planters on top of the bus shelter in London Road, near Queen Eleanor Street.

4 Four half-barrier baskets mounted on the railings at the site of the old Wesley Tree in the Market Square.

5 Extend, where possible, Millennium Stone beds at the Town Entrances.

Nectar plants for use in Summer Planting scheme

Eryngium Planum; Thyme; Sweet Alyssum; Aster Novi-belgi; Night-scented Stock; Sweet Rocket; Cornflowers; Scabious; Nicotiana (tobacco); Malva (Lavatera), Petunias and White Forget-me-nots for shady places.

Winter (2008–2009)

4 Octagon Planters

1 Purple Phormium

8 Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’

21 Viola ‘Harbour Lights’ Pansy – blue and white, some yellow

16 Hedera helix ‘Dentata variegata’

40 Dwarf Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’

3 Promenade Planters

Maroon, red, gold and green

3 Skimmia ‘Rubella’

8 Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’

8 Fern

8 Hedera helix (variegated)

21 Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Hearts Delight’

13 Petal Planters - per segment

1 Euonymus fortunei Emerald and Gold

15 Winter Pansy as before

15 Myosotis (forget-me-not) dark blue

5 Vinca minor ‘Argenteo-variegata’

20-30 Narcissus ‘Jack snipe’ (Market Sq only)

45 Crocus (Winter Flowering Assorted)


1 Fern

X Winter pansy and primula

X Trailing variegated ivy


In the Autumn of 2008 the Group was offered 3000 bulbs by Milton Keynes Council, and so SIB chose Narcissi for naturalizing in the grassy verges and bringing early colour and a valuable source of nectar for insects. SIB has Narcissus ‘Topolino’, N. ‘Tete-a-tete’, and N. obvallaris. Volunteers turned out to plant the road-side sites at the entrances to the town, and children helped plant a swathe of Narcissi along the Millrace in the Ouse Valley Park.

2009 in Full

5 December 2009

Stony in Bloom joins BBC/Guiness Book of Records tree-planting bid

Ray Cobley, Judy Deveson, Kathy Luff and Joan Walker planted 50 saplings by 11.27 am on Saturday, 5 December 2009, verified by Rob GiffordOn Saturday, 5 December four Stony in Bloom volunteers – Ray Cobley, Judy Deveson, Kathy Luff and Joan Walker – planted fifty saplings in the Bluebell Wood hedge at the top of London Road. Rob Gifford, as Chair of Stony Stratford Town Council, kindly verified that the planting was done it in the specified time, and so we are now part of the BBC/Guiness Book of Records tree-planting bid.




19 October 2009

Summer Blooms Give Way to Hardy Winter Plants

Planters at Plough Corner with winter planting, November 2009Winter planting in Market Square, November 2009









Anyone strolling down Stony Stratford High Street late in the afternoon on Sunday, 18 October would perhaps have been struck by how bare it all looked. No dazzling hues: just dark, empty planters. That was because earlier in the day Stony in Bloom volunteers had been out with their trowels and trays busily stripping away the begonias, geraniums and all the other flowers that have been lusciously and voraciously blossoming all summer. It was quite a wrench to pull them out – in more than a physical sense – asWinter planting on Stony Stratford Roundabout (Wolverton Rd), November 2009 many were still a delight to the eye. However, with frosts at night, it was decided that the time had come to move in the winter plants, many of which had been successfully saved in beds near the polytunnel at St Mary and St Giles School. So on Monday, 19 October Stony in Bloom volunteers were out once more, brightening up the planters with pansies, ivy and a variety of other winter greenery. Bulbs have been planted too, so watch out for extra colour in spring!

13 October 2009

The next generation of community gardeners in Breton!

Volunteers planting bulbs in Breton, October 2009A few months ago Isobel Thomson contacted Stony in Bloom to say that she’d be keen to help plant flowers to brighten up the Green in Breton. Delighted to respond to such a community initiative some Stony in Bloom volunteers and grandchildren joined Isobel and her daughters on 13 October in the autumn sunshine to plant crocuses and daffodils under the spreading chestnut tree.

Katy, Rachel, Tamika and Aimee were very enthusiastic planters, stamping fiercely on the ground to ensure the bulbs were well covered. They can feel very proud of themselves next spring when the purple and gold blooms cheer up everyone in Breton.

Girls selecting bulbs for planting in Breton, October 2009Girls digging holes for planting bulbs in Breton, October 2009













1 October 2009

New Term - Children of Russell Street School continue to work in their Science Garden, also have planted crocus bulbs given by Lesley Arkin in Cofferidge Close (see Young Bloomers Section).


28 September 2009

The Stony Stratford Community Wins at Newbury!

Silver Gilt Award 2009

Winner: Thames and Chiltern Trophy for Urban Community category 2009

Community Involvement Award 2009

Britain in Bloom: the Stony in Bloom Group was absolutely delighted to win the Regional Trophy for the Urban Community Category and to gain the Silver Gilt Award, but happiest of all to win the regional Award For Most Community Involvement (out of Bucks, Berks and Oxon). That’s what the ever-expanding group feels is the most valuable aspect of  their Britain in Bloom entry. 

The results were announced in Newbury by the Royal Horticultural Society judges on 28 September, and Ray Cobley and Pat Kyd collected the beautiful glass trophy on behalf of the group. 

Ray Cobley and Pat Kyd receive the 3 Awards on behalf of the Stony parish community


Throughout the summer, residents have been saying how beautiful the town has been looking, with the planters and hanging baskets providing a dizzying burst of brilliant colour, and the new sensory gardens on London Road and Calverton Road a more subtle crescent of mauve and gold with the varied perennials. 

It was satisfying that the judges agreed with the judgement of Stony Stratford’s residents.  Some of the very positive comments of the judges include: the pride in the Town is reflected in the very good community support behind ‘Stony in Bloom' – and the new sensory garden has clearly had some thought put into it and adds interest at a gateway into the Town – excellent website promoting work of ‘Stony in Bloom’.

The Stony in Bloom 09 campaign scored a fantastic 88% in the community participation section.


10 September 2009

Every picture tells a story

Cheque for £4000 presented to Willen Hospice

Thanks to the generosity of local people and businesses, the enormous hard work and time given by those who opened their gardens and those on the organising committee of Stony Open Gardens in July, it has been possible to present a cheque for £4,000 to Willen Hospice. Seen here in the photo is Julia Rogerson, Events & Pomotions Manager of Willen Hospice, receiving the cheque from Pat Kyd, Janice Windon and Judy Deveson on the right hand side, and Joan Walker, seated below.



Stony in Bloom 2009 at a Glance

27 September 2009

Mary Cater, a member of the Stony in Bloom Group, has sent this message as she feels the poem written by the Poet Laureate is so in tune with the aims of Stony in Bloom.

Virgil’s Bees

Bless air’s gift of sweetness, honey
from the bees, inspired by clover,
marigold, eucalyptus, thyme,
the hundred perfumes of the wind.
Bless the beekeeper
who chooses for her hives
a site near water, violet beds, no yew,
no echo.

Let the light lilt, leak, green
or gold, pigment for queens,
and joy be inexplicable but there
in harmony of willowherb and stream,
of summer heat and breeze,
each bee’s body
at its brilliant flower, lover-stunned,
strumming on fragrance, smitten.

For this,
let gardens grow, where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees, sing, praise
in pear trees, plum trees; bees
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.

Carol Ann Duffy

In December 2009 world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to try to reach a global deal to tackle climate change. To support the launch of the 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon emissions, the Review asked some of our greatest artists, authors and poets to produce new work in response to the crisis.

18 July 2009

Terry Daniells Interviewed Wednesday July 15th
The Most Talked About Open Garden This Year…

It’s hard to believe, but Terry only moved into 7 Swann Terrace last November, and didn’t start work on what was to become a tiny jewel of a garden, until January. His first step was to search the woods collecting oak branches to provide a frame which would give the garden character. Initially his idea was to fill the little space with tree ferns, which he particularly admires; but following his instinctive feel for design, he realised he needed colour, and also he wanted to be able to watch the changes in the garden as the year unfolded. 

It’s impossible to step into Terry’s garden without giving a gasp of delight at the colourful cascade of flowers of every hue tumbling down from the high walls and fence that enclose the little garden. The treasured and magnificent tree fern fans out, a gentle emerald green against the sky. There’s the soothing sound of water from a miniature waterfall; delicious scents from the blossoms and also from the tomatoes growing in the miniscule green house in the corner; the crunch of honey-coloured gravel underfoot – this is a garden for all the senses.

A man of infinite ingenuity, Terry has managed to squeeze courgettes, cucumbers as well as runner beans into his four square metres of territory. He even has a water butt, artfully masked by the ferns and alpines dangling from the up-side-down lid.

Terry’s is a garden that leaves the viewer stunned by its charm and loveliness. Since he took part in the Stony Open Gardens event on Saturday July 15th his phone has not stopped ringing. He has just learnt that he’s been short-listed for the Milton Keynes Small Garden Competition.


Could any small garden be more perfect than his?


10 July 2009

Recognition for Stony Stratford –
The 2009 best kept villages in Bucks are announced

The Buckinghamshire Association of Local Councils has announced the results for 2009 and Stony Stratford is runner-up to Marlow in the Michaelis Cup for an urban population over 3000.

The Best Kept Village Competition judges visit each village unannounced and assess features such as recreation grounds, village hall, graveyards and war memorials for good maintenance and lack of litter.

Competition Chairman, Richard Pushman commented: "It was pleasing to see less litter in many of the villages this year.  There is an ever increasing evidence of community care." 

The awards will be presented by the Vice Lord Lieutenant Mrs Jenny Hopkirk on Saturday 12 September in the winning village. 

9 July 2009

Turning back the clock at St Mary & St Giles

Conversations about Stony in Bloom are common place in Stony Stratford these days and sometimes evoke memories of the past.  Today a pupil of 50 years ago at St Mary & St Giles C E School recalled how she had had gardening lessons at school in exactly the same place where the new polytunnel and new raised beds are situatated and where today's children are starting their gardening experiences.  Apparently in those days each child had their own plot and she was not too happy at having hers next to the pig sty!  Yes, they even kept a pig.

6 July 2009

Front Garden and Floral Container Competition

Chris Wilde of Roman Way Garden Centre, the sponsor of the competitions, and Mary Sarre for Stony in Bloom judged the entries in the competitions on Saturday.  They were very impressed with the high standard of the entries but finally chose winners for each category and some were "highly commended" all of which receive recognition.

   Winning Front Garden 3 Goran Avenue   Winning Floral Container 22 Clailey Court

4 July 2009

New Planting in Fullers Slade

Andy MacDermott, the Fullers Slade Community Mobilizer, was brimming with ideas for working with the community to enhance the area, when sadly he was taken ill.  Stony in Bloom had thought that his initiatives might falter; however, a number of residents who had attended his coffee mornings had been so fired up by Andy's plans that they were determined to carry on where Andy had left off, for his sake - and they worked hard to weed and plant the 'FS' bed at Fullers Slade.

Andrew Willems told Ursula Lewis, the Information Officer of the TC, about what they wanted to do, and she put them in touch with Stony in Bloom, who were delighted to support their achievements, and keen to include their planting in the route.

Coincidentally, on the same day, Joyce Robertson, who is a member of the Baptist Church, mentioned to Ursula that she had been very happy indeed at the response of the residents of Bellwether in Fullers Slade, after they had been given planters to hang on car-ports.

The intitiative seemed to have generated a much greater sense of pride in the area, and children had come up to her to tell her proudly that they were watering the baskets.

18 June 2009

Wednesday 15 July - The Judges are coming to Town!

The RHS Judges will be coming to Stony Stratford to view and score the achievements of Stony in Bloom.  Absolutely no pressure!!  And there is certainly no need to go to any expense, but anyone with a front garden or property on the route, please take out your magnifying glass, zap those weeds, ensure your garden and property are litter-free and looking their best.  Last year Stony in Bloom received a Silver Gilt Award, but sadly was marked down by the fact that some gardens appeared rather untidy and unloved.  It would be good to demonstrate to the judges that we have taken on board their comments.

The route that the judges will follow is:

  • Starting in London Road at The Children's Centre to see Secret Garden
  • Viewing Bluebell Wood
  • Walking down London Road to view the new Sensory Garden at the junction with Hale Avenue
  • Walking further down London Road to view the allotments
  • Travelling by car via Coronation Road and Egmont Avenue to Augustus Road/Calverton Road junction to view new planting
  • Travelling by car along Calverton Road to junction with Ousebank Way, then walking to Memorial Garden and Horsefair Green
  • Walking to Cofferidege Close keeping near to Budgens and beside Health Centre to view Market Square planting
  • Walking past Library and Church into High Street to view planters and hanging baskets
  • Crossing to east side to walk along High Street, then into New Street
  • Visiting Russell Street School Science Garden
  • By car visiting Wildlife Park Dragonfly Pond via Queen Eleanor Street
  • By car visiting new planting scheme in Fullers Slade
  • By car visiting St Mary & St Giles C E School to see polytunnel and allotment
  • By car returning to the Library

6 June 2009

Stony Stratford - blaze of colour

A perfect matchThe Stony in Bloom volunteers have triumphed again and after days of hard work the rewards are great as the town's plants are a joy see.


Attention to detail is remarkable as the plants exactly match the bright newly painted posts in the High Street at the entrance to Cofferidge Close.


MarketSqpetalplanter060609Red is the dominant colour in the Market Square and the "petal planter" cannot fail to catch the eye.

Stony in Bloom's first venture

The beds which were planted at the entrance to the Library in Church Street in the Spring of 2008 have become well established and form an attractive permanent display which complement the brightness of
the planters.

      Library060609 Library2060609

28 May 2009

Hive of Industry in the High Street

If you are in the High Street from next Sunday and for the following three or four days, you are bound to see the team of volunteers hard at work removing all the winter plants from the planters and planting new ones for what promises to be a glorious colourful summer ahead.  The winter plants will be stored for safe keeping until next winter in the new allotment bed at St Mary & St Giles C E School.  Not just humans will enjoy this burst of colour, the theme will be the inclusion of nectar plants with the purpose of attracting bees.

Here is an important message to anyone feeling left out - be part of the action, roll up your sleeves and volunteer to join in.  Every little helps!

9 May 2009 

Help! A tough day at the Bluebell Wood

Volunteers are lost in a mist of Queen Anne's lace as they try to clear a patch for wild flowers at the heart of the wood.  Bindweed has leapt up the hawthorn bushes since they were last there, and so has to be ruthlessly torn away from its prey.  With weeds growing lustily in the spring sunshine, more volunteers are very much in demand on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.  Please, is there anyone out there who can help?

8 May 2009

Polytunnel project nearing completion


The construction of the new polytunnel at St Mary & St Giles C E School is now complete and it is presently being fitted out with staging and beds for indoor planting.  The tunnel will be used both for the children's education and to raise and store plants for the beds and planters in the town that residents can enjoy throughout the year.

Outside the tunnel an allotment bed is being prepared and soon there will be a raised bed for each class in the School to call their own.  What an amazing chance for the young people to learn gardening skills and to enjoy the satisfaction of growing their own flowers and vegetables!

Compost bins are on order and will be delivered shortly and there are plans to provide water butts.  There is great excitement in the air that very shortly this new self-sufficient, eco-friendly unit will be up and running.

The construction work, which started in February, has taken a team of volunteers more than 200 hours of incredibly hard work and dedication.  It would not have been possible without funding through the Futures Group's successful bid to the South East England Development Agency, the Stony Stratford Town Council and community support.

May Bank Holiday Weekend 2009

Sensory Garden planted on London Road near junction to Hale Avenue

A team of volunteers have given up their weekend to set about planting a pre-prepared bed.  A spectacular selection of plants has been chosen for all the senses: scent and aromatic for perfume and smell; colour for sight; textures from soft, furry, feathery and prickly for feel and touch; and grasses and bamboos for sound and movement.

The area, formerly just grass, was created from a planting plan prepared by the Milton Keynes Landscape Architects and promises to provide a magical expereience for all who are in the vicinity.

Saturday 25 April 2009

Plant Sale and coffee morning at York House

In spite of the day being rather damp and dull, the spirits of the many visitors who came to this joint venture between Stony in Bloom and York House Youth Community Centre were not dampened. 

They found a wonderful opportunity to choose plants from a large and wide selection donated by local people.  There was an irresistible temptation to disappear inside for a chat with friends over a hot cup of coffee and wickedly delicious home-made cakes.

Mary Sarre organized the plant sale on behalf of Stony in Bloom and raised £515.  Ken Daniels made the arrangements for York House and both were more than pleased that the occasion proved to be a great success.


Friday 24 April 2009

Stony in Bloom website goes live –

The first sections of the new website organized by a volunteer went live today. There is still much more to add and develop, such as within the next few weeks the addition of photographs, the section on the environment and the news/blog page. It will be possible to take documents, for example competition entry forms and newspaper cuttings in pdf format. The Stony in Bloom Group hopes that residents and businesses will find new and interesting items to make return visits worth while and informative.

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